Ten years ago today, Americans awoke to an ordinary Tuesday. As men and women across the nation went to work, so too did men of evil intentions. First a plane disappeared, seemingly slipping into the frame of the north tower of the World Trade Center. Surely a terrible mistake has occurred many thought. Then another, just as the first, thunderously vanished into the south tower too. The worst of fears confirmed in billowing clouds of flame and smoke. Neglect, no matter how great, could not have produced this moment of sheer horror. No, neglect’s sometimes terrible hand pales in contrast to the cold calculations of men devoid of moral compass and consumed in hate. As New York City burned, our nation’s Capital also found itself under attack as a third plane struck the Pentagon strong.
As America felt helpless in one of its darkest moments, the American spirit burned brightest in those first responders, our firefighters, police, and medics. As debris fell and smoke filled the sky, they ran towards the towers to save and help any they could. Billowing like chimneys ablaze, the towers robbed of their vitality tumbled to the ground. Those first responders gave their lives so that others might live. The American spirit also burned bright in a field over Pennsylvania as Americans in the high-jacked United 93 flight fought back against their masters of terror. As Americans have done in moments past, so too did these Americans overcome fear and tyranny. Casting aside the shackles of fear, they fought and ended evil’s fourth terrible design. Bought with the price of their lives cut short, United 93 would take life no more. Freedom once again proved stronger than fear.
As the ash smoldered and smoke still hung, a man stood at the former base of the twin towers gone. In a voice that spoke for a nation in pain, he called aloud for all to hear. “I can hear you!” he proclaimed. “The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”
One decade later, many of those evil men certainly have heard from us. With the diligent vigilance of our service men and women, as well as those in our intelligence services, America has not endured another attack on our soil.
Today we honor the men and women who lost their lives that September 11th morn. As we reflect on this day of tragedy and loss, may we commit to continue forward to a greater tomorrow. With resolve to never forget, may we always remember freedom is not free. May we also think of that little sung stanzas of our national anthem:
O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
In the face of evil, let us never turn away from justice and right. For it is in this cause, that Providence’s hand has found fit to preserve us until now. May we proclaim forevermore, “In God is our trust.” May God bless the United States of America.