The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 were not just a brutal and deadly assault on innocent Americans; they were an attack on what the United States means to the world. They were an attack on the very idea that “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable right, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
We must always remember what we all lost that day. But we must also celebrate the patriots, living and dead, who have continued to show us the best of this country. We must remember the firefighters, police and other first responders who rushed into the burning towers and Pentagon in the hope that they might help others live. We must honor the memory of the brave passengers and crew of flight 93, who began – that very day – to fight back against our enemies. We must salute the brave men and women who have since carried that fight to Afghanistan and Iraq, and continue to battle our enemies around the world. Most of all, we must join with every American in the fierce and solemn promise: never again.”
The 9/11 resolution passed by Congress earlier this week says we must take whatever actions are appropriate to defend the people of the United States and to identify, intercept, and defeat terrorists. In the weeks and months ahead, this House will consider many questions related to this ongoing War on Terror. I pray we make the right choices, because our liberty and that of future generations is hanging in the balance. If we fail, more Americans will die, and worse, we may see the light of freedom fade from the rest of the world.
I am deeply grateful to Majority Leader Hoyer and Minority Leader Boehner for sponsoring such an important resolution.
A bipartisan resolution is perhaps the best way to commemorate the national unity that followed the extraordinary events of eight years ago today. I was here on Capitol Hill that day. It was just as pretty a day as it is today. The shock and horror of the images on the television screens, and the smoke rising from the Pentagon, are still with me today and informs my service in this building, as it does every Member of Congress.
As the Old Book says, we are ‘to mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve,’ and we are also to ‘pay the debts of honor and gratitude to those that are owed.’
We need to remember those we lost that day. This nation should never forget the lives that were lost at the Pentagon, in the heart of our great city of New York, or in a field in Pennsylvania. And so on this day we remember them and lift up their families in our prayers.
We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who rushed in when others were rushing out, those who filled recruiting offices, and those who put on the uniform of the United States and went and confronted this terror where it all began.
As we grieve and as we mourn and we remember and we pay debts of gratitude, let us also resolve to continue to do all that we can to maintain the bipartisan commitment that began on that very day. Let us make sure that our nation, and our soldiers and those who protect us at home or abroad, have the resources that they need to get the job done and come home safe.
Americans will never forget the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the horrific images that are forever imprinted in our minds from that day. Thousands of lives were needlessly taken and thousands of families were painfully impacted by the evil of the terrorists who conspired against our country. Today, along with all Americans, I pause to remember the lives that were lost. We also honor the bravery of the first responders who worked courageously for days during the difficult rescue efforts. We will never forget.
9/11 is a lesson learned. We must never allow this to happen again. We must ensure that the individuals responsible for these actions remain securely detained and are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and not indiscriminately released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The Obama Administration’s executive order to close this facility begs a fundamental question: What is our nation’s plan for dealing with the terrorists who perpetrated the heinous crimes of 9/11?