On one of the darkest anniversaries in our nation’s history, we remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. New York City was ground zero, but the scars still run deep throughout America and around the world. Like Pearl Harbor or the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the day bonds us all in shock and horror as we recall precisely where we were and what we were doing when the tragic news left us breathless and hollow.
Sept. 11 will forever be a day of mourning, but it also is a time to remember the heroes. While the images of the crumbling Twin Towers, smoldering Pentagon and debris-strewn Shanksville field are impossible to shake, so too are the pictures of courage. It takes a special courage to run into a burning building looking for total strangers who are trapped or injured. It takes tireless dedication to provide 24/7 care and comfort to those who experience the oncoming waves of hurt and pain. It takes steadfast resolve and unflinching cool to command order in the face of chaos.
To those who lost loved ones on this fateful day, I send my prayers and wish you peace. To those who risked all to help others, I commend your bravery and loyalty to humanity. To those who deployed to hostile territories to protect us from another 9/11, I salute you and pray for your safe return. And finally, to those who conducted, carried out or support further terroristic atrocities against our nation and fellow Americans, I pray you receive the just recompense for your ill-conceived and cowardly crimes.
On Sept. 11 and every day, may God bless our heroes, our lost loved ones, our troops and the United States of America. We will never forget.