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President Barack Obama to Conclude September 11 at Washington National Cathedral with Keynote Address

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta also to participate in Cathedral’s commemorative weekend of events

August 30, 2011

CONTACT: Ari Geller or Meredith MacKenzie, Rabinowitz-Dorf Communications: (202) 265-3000 (o), (202) 689-4985 (c) or (202) 427-2007 (c)

Washington, D.C.—President Barack Obama will speak at Washington National Cathedral the evening of Sunday, September 11, during “A Concert for Hope,” the capstone event of a three-day commemoration of the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. Washington National Cathedral is joining the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the Pentagon Memorial Fund, and the Flight 93 National Memorial to present “A Call to Compassion,” a weekend of programming that will gather Americans to honor the memories of those who were lost, heal the wounds caused by terrorism and war, and gain new hope to move forward as a nation

“President Obama will visit the three memorial sites in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon on September 11, reminding us all of the tremendous toll that tragic day had on our nation. We are honored that President Obama will conclude this journey at the National Cathedral,” said Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III. “Ten years ago at the Cathedral, the nation gathered after tragedy with President Bush; at the Cathedral this year, we mark the passing of a decade since a day that changed the life of every American. 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.”

The weekend to commemorate September 11 will mark the reopening of the Cathedral following last week’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake, which has forced it to close while safety measures are being implemented. Every effort is being made to ensure that the damage will not have any significant impact on the Cathedral’s plans for the commemoration.

The three-day commemoration 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 nearly 6,000 troops who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The concert will feature the Brahms Requiem performed by the Marine Chamber Orchestra and United States Navy Band Sea Chanters, along with soprano Christine Brandes, bass-baritone Eric Owens, and the Cathedral Choir.

In addition to President Obama, Sunday evening’s event will feature renowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, country superstar Alan Jackson, and R&B legend Patti LaBelle. The event will feature words of wisdom, songs of hope, and messages of peace. The message of the concert—that Americans’ hope as a people is stronger than division, hate, and fear—serves to move the national consciousness from mourning into recovery, enlivening a movement toward understanding, tolerance, and peace.

An interfaith vigil on the morning of September 11 will include leaders from many faiths gathering 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 Pennsylvania.

During a community gathering day on Saturday afternoon, September 10, the Cathedral invites families to attend a free public concert, “A Concert to Heal,” which will feature the Grammy award-winning African American female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, Latin pop band Ocho de Bastos, and Afghan-born singer Humayun Khan. ABC7/WJLA-TV anchor Leon Harris will serve as host.

Tickets are required for all events except those on the morning of Sunday, September 11. To view a full list of events and to reserve tickets, please visit » “A Call to Compassion” is the product of the National Cathedral’s collaboration with the Pentagon Memorial Fund, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and the Flight 93 National Memorial, and is made possible by Lockheed Martin Corporation. Additional support comes from F.I.S.H. Foundation, Inc., in support of the National Cathedral’s mission as the spiritual home for the nation.

SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral
Media Contact: Richard Weinberg
(202) 537-5548
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Special thanks to our sponsor: F.I.S.H. Foundation


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Event Schedule

Find out what’s happening and when during "A Call to Compassion."


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