We can target our resources against emerging threats and evolving risks. And we are working to better empower the American public, and draw on what President Obama has called our greatest national security asset: our values.
It is those values that define us as a nation. And those values will always be a force more powerful than the ideology of a tiny few.
Our nation has faced down violent extremism before. We’ve witnessed terrorism, at home and abroad, and could witness it again some day.
But in big ways and small, that resilience is a pillar of our security, and there has been no better example than right here in Oklahoma City.
We’ve seen it again and again—in the passengers who took matters into their own hands on September 11th, and indeed again on December 25th last year.
And in the citizens of New Orleans, reclaiming their communities after Katrina, and in Greensburg, Kansas, rebuilding their town after it was destroyed by a tornado in 2007.
All these examples could have ended differently. But the resilience, and the sense of shared responsibility that kicked in each time took them in another direction.
Around Oklahoma, and around the country, there are thousands of young elm trees growing, each having started as a cutting from the Survivor Tree that still stands before us.
Among the children who survived that terrible day, the first has now graduated from high school.
And among the many thousands of Oklahomans and Americans whose lives were touched by this tragedy, there are untold and countless stories of bravery, of strength, and of courage.
Terrorism is a tactic designed not just to kill, but to make us feel powerless. But we are never powerless. We control the way we prepare ourselves, the way we anticipate and combat the threats, and the way we respond if something does happen.
America is a strong nation. We are a resilient nation. And as we confront these new threats, we will use our values and our way of life as the most powerful source of our strength. For now, and for years to come.
Here at the Memorial, there is an inscription at the Survivor tree that reads, “The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.”
This sounds like wisdom to me and describes perfectly that intangible quality that, whatever challenges we face—we will respond, we will persevere, and we will continue to thrive in our families, in our communities, and across our nation."