Remembrance ceremonies for the victims of the September 11 attacks were held across the country Saturday, including in Boston, where Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry paid tribute to the families who lost loved ones in the attacks.
Senator Kerry told family members that the memories of the 9/11 attacks three years ago remain forever fresh and forever painful.
But he also recalled how the country pulled together in the wake of the worst terrorist attacks ever on U.S. soil.
"So while September 11 was the worst day we have ever seen, it brought out the best in all of us and we will always remember where we were on that day," he said. "And we must always remember that we will only defeat those who sought to destroy us by standing together as one America."
Senator Kerry took a break from the campaign trail to attend Saturday's memorial service in Boston.
He told family members that future generations will learn that the lesson of September 11 is that the American spirit endures.
"It is that spirit which leads us to defy those who would harm us and affirm that freedom will win," he said. "It is that spirit which sustains all of you as you continue to rebuild your lives. And it is that spirit which will guide us all as we rebuild those towers, stronger, higher and more beautiful than ever before. Just like America."
Two of the four hijacked flights on September 11 originated in Boston and Saturday's remembrance ceremony paid tribute to the more than 200 Massachusetts residents who died in the attacks.
Christie Coombs lost her husband on September 11.
"As time passes and we get farther away from that fateful day, the sadness will linger, but the grief will change," she said. "Going forward, we can take comfort in knowing that we will continue to have each other. We share a bond that is unique to us and together we find the strength to face tomorrow and its challenges."
Senator Kerry is just back from a five-day, eight state campaign swing and will resume his quest for the White House on Monday.