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Obama speech to close 9/11 commemoration at National Cathedral

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • "A Call to Compassion" will mark the tenth anniversary of September 11 attacks
  • The 3-day event focuses on honoring memories, healing wounds, and gaining hope
  • President Obama will speak on the final night of the event

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama plans to speak at the Washington National Cathedral on the evening of September 11 to commemorate the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, event organizers said Tuesday.

The three-day event, entitled "A Call to Compassion," is designed to "honor the memories of those lost, heal the wounds caused by terrorism and war, and gain new hope to move forward as a nation," a news release said.

It will begin on Friday, September 9, with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaking at "A Concert to Honor," a memorial concert dedicated to the victims of 9/11 as well as the more than 6,000 troops who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Saturday, September 10, families are invited to attend a free public concert, organizers said. This event will be called "A Concert to Heal."

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Sunday, September 11, will mark the reopening of the National Cathedral following last week's 5.8-magnitude earthquake.

The day will begin with an interfaith vigil where religious leaders will gather in prayer as the cathedral tolls its 12-ton funeral bell to mark the moments when airplanes struck the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center, hit the Pentagon, and crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, said organizers.

Obama also plans to visit all three memorial sites on the morning of September 11, the cathedral said. Later in the evening, he and first lady Michelle Obama will attend "A Concert for Hope," where the president will deliver his speech.

"It is our hope that the Cathedral's commemoration, especially with President Obama's participation in it, will move us further down the path toward healing," said Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III.

The Washington National Cathedral joined with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the Pentagon Memorial Fund, and the Flight 93 National Memorial to present the event.

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