Obama Commemorates Mumbai Terror Attack: "We'll Never Forget"

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: Shortly after landing in Mumbai, President Obama’s started his trip on a somber note, by commemorating the victims lost in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks at the iconic Taj Mahal hotel. “I know there’s been a great deal of commentary on our decision to begin our visit here, in this dynamic city, at this historic hotel,” Obama said from the Taj this afternoon. “And to those who have asked whether this is intended to send a message, my answer is simple absolutely.” The Taj was one of the targets of the November 2008 attacks which ultimately led to the death of 166 people. “Ever since those horrific days two years ago, the Taj has been a symbol of the strength and the resilience of the Indian people. So yes we visit here to send a very clear message that in our determination to give our people a future of security and prosperity, the United States and India stand united.” The president said that Mumbai -- and the Taj itself -- stands as a symbol of the energy and optimism that defines India, especially in the dark moments of the 26/11 terror attacks. “We’ll never forget the awful imagines of 26/11 including the flames from this hotel that lit up the night sky,” the president said. “We’ll never forget how the world, including the American people watched and grieved with all of India. But the resolve and the resilience of the Indian people during those attacks stood in stark contrast with the savagery of the terrorists.” “The perpetrators wanted to pit people of different faiths against one another. But they failed. Because here in Mumbai, the diversity that is in India’s strength was on full display. Hindus, Sheiks, Christians, Jews and Muslims protecting each other, saving each other, living the common truth of all the world’s great religions, that we are all children of God.” Connecting the loss to September 11th in the US, the president said that both countries lost citizens in each and that they both stand united together against terrorism. “Just as Indian citizens lost their lives on 9/11, American citizens lost their lives here on 26/11, along with the citizens of many nations. And just as our people prayed together at candlelight vigils, our governments have worked closer than ever, sharing more intelligence, preventing attacks, and demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice.” The president -- who is staying at the hotel and booked the entire hotel for security precautions -- first met with families of some of the victims and survivors of the attack privately. Then, along with the first lady, visited the memorial in a courtyard within the hotel to commemorate the victims. Each laid a single white rose on a ledge underneath the memorial wall, where the names of the victims are etched. The president spent several minutes signing the large book provided, his message taking up much of the page, in which he wrote: "We will always remember the events of 26/11; not only the sorrow, but also the courage and humanity that was displayed that day. The United States stands in solidarity with all of Mumbai and all of India in working to eradicate the scourge of terrorism, and we affirm our lasting friendship with the Indian people." Barack Obama 6 November 2010 First lady Michelle Obama signed her name after the president’s. - Sunlen Miller

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