Today, as we honor patriot day and the 2,977 Americans who tragically lost their lives 19 years ago, there is no denying that America has changed.
Since that horrible day, we have fought in two wars. The one in Iraq has ended, and the one in Afghanistan is winding down. Thousands of our nation’s finest have paid the ultimate price fighting for our freedom, and thousands more have returned home bearing the physical and mental scars of battle. And our country is certainly more vigilant when it comes to safety and security.
When the terrorists attacked us 19 years ago, their hope was to weaken America and dampen her spirit. Instead, Americans united and proved that not only will we not be defeated, but that we are stronger than ever.
Americans rediscovered their devotion to our country and to our neighbors that day. We boldly stood as a nation and refused to succumb to fear or despair. It truly became one of our finest hours.
Though there is no doubt that the memory of the innocent Americans who perished because of the attacks on that fateful day will remain etched in our minds, the heroic acts of that day will remain just as enduring.
In the wake of the ruthless attacks and the utter chaos that followed, our nation stood tall. We witnessed rescue personnel and ordinary citizens become true heroes that day, in some cases, sacrificing their own lives to help complete strangers.
And as the dust settled, and America rallied her forces, a new generation of service members answered the call to duty. For 19 years now, the men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line to answer that call have helped to better protect us from such merciless attacks.
They have liberated a country from the clenches of tyranny.... They have severely weakened a terrorist network... they’ve empowered just governments and trained militaries so that they may sufficiently govern and defend themselves against evil extremists.
But there is no question that America will still face threats to our way of life, whether it be overseas or right here on American soil. However, September 11 serves as an eternal reminder that we must act to ensure that forces of ignorance and hatred never prevail, and that we will never allow anyone to take our freedom. America will always stand united and proud in the face of our enemies.
Before we leave here today, let’s take a moment to reflect on everything that’s changed since September 11, 2001, and honor the victims and those who’ve selflessly sacrificed, by committing ourselves to our families, to our communities and to our country. That is what makes America great. That is what makes America a symbol of hope. That is the best way to honor the memory of those lost due to the events of September 11.
God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you.