September 11th – The Tenth Anniversary

9 11 rememberedOn the eve of the 10th anniversary of the worst attack ever on our citizens and on our soil, it is normal and it is good to pause and reflect. When I see replays of the twin towers crashing to the ground, I feel the pain and the anguish all over again, almost as I did on that day ten years ago. I witnessed in real time, the brave New York firemen rushing down the street and into the burning buildings. When I see replays, I now know they were rushing to their death. I recall how brave American heroes brought down a plane over a field in Pennsylvania, sealing their own death, but doing so to save many more in Washington DC.

Coupled with the pain and the anguish over what happened that fateful day, I am filled with pride in our people and pride in our country. I recall how Americans all over this grand country pulled together to help the victims and their families. I recall members of Congress standing on the steps of our Capitol and singing “God Bless America”! I recall memorial services in the National Cathedral and around the country. For a short time it was acceptable to speak the name of God and pray in public, and encourage others to pray for our safety and the healing of America. Americans saluted our flag with passion and conviction.

Yes, it is good to pause and reflect, and we dare not forget what happened that day. We can’t forget because our lives changed forever. There are reminders every time we travel, every time we enter a public event where our bags are searched and our bodies scanned. But as we remember the tragedy, we must focus on the lessons learned that day.

We learned that Americans are still true to our heritage. Americans find strength and unity in adversity, Americans rise to every challenge no matter how great, and Americans never, never, never give up. The world will be watching on September 11, 2011 when the National September 11 Memorial Plaza opens on the site of the former World Trade Center complex as a tribute to our horrific loss. In September 2012 the Memorial Museum will open to the public. The Memorial Museum will include a Wall of Faces with photographs of the nearly 3,000 victims, to communicate the scale of the human loss that day. The message to the world is that human life is precious and valued in America. Four new towers are rising in the plaza to show the world that America never, never, never gives up.

As you remember on this tenth anniversary, I encourage you to focus on the lessons we have learned from adversity. Focus on the values that have made America great and look to the future. America’s greatest resource is her people, strong, generous, compassionate, innovative, determined and tenacious. America’s greatest days are still ahead!

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