One Year Later
Sep 9, 2002 -
When something truly momentous happens we memorialize it for future generations. That’s why certain dates hold significance in our country’s history.
Some dates are celebrated for the good that occurred. For example, each year on July 4 we celebrate the day when our nation’s founders gathered to sign the Declaration of Independence.
We also observe dates when calamity struck. An example is December 7, 1941 – the date that will live in infamy – when the forces of Japan attacked our naval base in Pearl Harbor and ushered us into World War II. More than 2,300 Americans died that day. It was remembered annually as the worst attack on U.S. soil until last year.
On September 11, 2001, a cowardly act of international terrorism was committed, not in some remote region of the world but inside the security of our borders. As a result, 3,056 men, women, and children died in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.
I’m sure you remember where you were when you heard the news. I vividly recall that morning. Each day on my way to work I pass the Pentagon. On that particular morning, as I passed the Pentagon on my right, I heard a muffled boom and saw a plume of thick black smoke rise in the air. When I stopped at the entrance to the Rayburn House Office Building where my office is located, a Capitol Police Officer confirmed the news of the terrorist attack.
It is often in our darkest hours when some of our best qualities – selflessness, charity, strength, and hope – are displayed. On September 11 and the days and months that followed, America rose to the occasion as patriotism swept the land. We were again drawn together by all the common bonds that make us Americans. And with collective resolve we now fight a war on terrorism.
The United States was founded on freedom and continues to stand for freedom. Those who wish to destroy us are not only our enemies, they are enemies of freedom.
Under the authority granted him by Congress last year in Public Law 107-89, President Bush proclaimed September 11, 2002, as Patriot Day. On this day we should not only honor those who perished, we should cherish our freedom and remember why it is worth defending.