Ten Septembers have come and gone, and still the memory of that Tuesday morning in 2001 is impossible to forget. September 11th is for us what November 22th, 1963 was for the previous generation, and what December 7th, 1941 was for the generation before that: a day so starkly terrible that it imprinted itself in our memory like a photograph. You still remember where you were and what you were doing that Tuesday morning when you heard the news, and always will.
We are preparing to mark the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks we now know simply as 9/11. We remember the innocent people trapped at their desks in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the brave first responders who put their own lives at risk to rescue others, and the heroic passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, whose resistance quite likely spared the White House or U.S. Capitol Building from attack.
In all, nearly 3,000 people were murdered that day. Ten of the victims were from New Hampshire. As we observe the tenth anniversary of the attacks, we must make sure we remember the Granite Staters who were lost that day.
A decade later, much has changed. The evil mastermind who plotted the attacks, plus several of his henchmen, are now dead. His al-Qaeda terrorist network is severely crippled. America woke up to the threat of global terrorism that day, and although our adversaries still look for ways to strike us, thankfully we have not had another large-scale attack on U.S. soil, and we are now vigilant and focused on preventing it.
Ten Septembers later, we can also look back at the positive things that emerged from that tragic day. Do you remember the feeling of closeness that came as the entire county united and pulled together in a way we hadn’t seen since World War II? Do you remember the outpouring of patriotism as American flags suddenly appeared everywhere? Do you remember how people set aside petty differences and came together to hug and cry, to heal and recover, and to muster our resolve that something like this must never happen again? For a few weeks in the final months, there was no north or south, no liberal or conservative, no people fractioned by partisan politics or ideological factions. For one brief moment, we were all Americans. Period.
Like many of you, I wish we could return to that same spirit of unconditional cooperation as we struggle with the problems that confront our country today. Let me repeat what I have said before: I am ready to work with anyone, in either party, who is willing to work together to help solve the challenges we face.
So we pause to remember the events of September 11, 2001, and we honor all those who died so needlessly on that day. We feel again the shock, the horror and the deep loss. We feel again the pride that came from watching the best of the American spirit in action, and we feel our hearts warmed anew by the rededication to the cause of freedom that we embraced in the aftermath of the attacks.
No terrorist weapon is strong enough to destroy our commitment to liberty; no threat of terror is strong enough to make us retreat from our commitment to our independence; no cloud of fear is dark enough to dim our faith in knowing that by working together, we can build a better tomorrow.
Ten Septembers later, the legacy of 9/11 lives within us all.