Today, we remember that fateful September morning that changed us forever. This year, I’ve been reflecting on the remarks of then-President George W. Bush before Congress on September 20:
“Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment.
“Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time, now depends on us.
“Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.”
While I grieve the lost innocence of this new generation of young adults, who have never known a pre-9/11 world, I’m thankful that they know a resilient America, a hopeful America, and an America that doesn’t back down.
September 11, 2001, reminded all of us how fragile and precious life is. 17 years have passed, and the faces in this House Chamber have changed, but one thing that has not changed is our commitment to the safety and security of the American people.
The feelings of shock on 9/11 and the feelings of unity on 9/12 continue to guide our work in the People’s House. We have not tired or faltered in our mission to keep America safe and free. We have not lost sight of our purpose, or the need for safer communities and a strong military.
On this somber anniversary, we remember the lives lost in 2001 and in Benghazi in 2012. I encourage you to take a moment to read the posts by my colleagues, including those below. Together we can keep these memories alive and renew in the next generation why we stand strong against terror everywhere.
Roll Call | ‘We’ve Got to Get Out’: This Congressman Was at the White House on 9/11
Jodey C. Arrington’s car was parked outside the entrance to the Executive Office Building on Sept. 11, 2001. He usually didn’t leave it there.
“I was literally right outside, for some reason, that day,” he said.
During the chaos of the morning, 29-year-old Arrington packed as many people as he could into his Chevy Tahoe and drove straight to his apartment near the National Cathedral. If he had been on the Ellipse, where most people parked, he would have been stuck in the White House complex.
There were too many people and too many cars.
“You had the sense that we were under siege and you didn’t know who was next,” said the Texas Republican, now a first-term congressman. “The Pentagon, meanwhile, had been hit, and you could see the smoke billowing up from the Pentagon from the White House.”
Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) in The Military Times: How Sept. 11 changed America
I remember where I was when I heard the news. It was Sept. 11, 2001. I was serving as the aide-de-camp to the commander of all American-based U.S. Army forces. We were having a welcoming ceremony.
At the time, I didn’t realize how much that day would change my own life. Now as I look back, I realize how much Sept. 11 changed it and our country forever.
As the aide to the new deputy commander, I had to interrupt the general and whisper that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center.
We knew immediately we were at war.
As all of the U.S.-based Army division and corps commanders were present, we had to figure out how to get them back to their commands on a day when more than 4,000 flights and all U.S. ground control had been grounded.