White House: Here's a Guide to Observing 9/11

Releases guidelines for public commemorations
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2011 9:57 AM CDT
The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is seen in the background as water flows in the south pool of the World Trade Center Memorial, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(Newser) – As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, the White House has issued guidelines for public commemorations and official statements to government officials both in the US and abroad. The domestic guidelines are much shorter than those issued overseas, including to American embassies and consulates worldwide, the New York Times notes. Highlights:

  • Memorialize those who died and thank those who helped, including the military, law enforcement, homeland security, and intelligence.
  • “Present a positive, forward-looking narrative,” but warn that Americans should be ready for another attack, and must be “resilient” if one occurs.
  • Emphasize the fact that the US realizes the attacks are not “just about us,” but that extremism has affected many other nations. Officials are also asked to praise global allies who are also working to combat terrorism.

  • “Minimize references to al-Qaeda,” especially in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death. Officials are instructed to note that al-Qaeda is “increasingly irrelevant” and “represents the past,” while peaceful Arab Spring protesters “represent the future.”
  • Emphasize the importance of national service and encourage Americans to volunteer.
  • Explain what the government has done to prevent another big attack.
  • “Draw on the spirit of unity that prevailed in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.”
As one official puts it, the officials should highlight the fact that the US is strong and “can outlast our adversaries. We’re stronger than the terrorists’ ability to frighten us.”

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