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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Legacy of 9/11

Virginia state Senator Mark Obenshain:
"I remember where I was when the Twin Towers fell..."

After an event so devastating, the memory is seared into our consciousness. Like pivotal events before it, most of us can recall where we were when we realized that America was under attack.

Yet for many millions of Americans, the horror of September 11th is just a vague memory. For forty million, the attacks of September 11th are purely historical - something that happened before they were even born.

A great nation is not felled by a blow like the September 11th attacks. A great nation is not cowed. That's why, on the tenth anniversary, we go about our daily lives. The terrorists failed; we go on.

But still, we pause to reflect.

Ten years ago, we watched in shock as the Twin Towers crumbled and a dark veil of dust descended upon Manhattan. The hole in the New York City skyline mirrored the raw hole in our nation's soul.

We watched, shaken, as our enemies brought war to us. Closer to home, we watched, stunned, as a plane breached a wing of the Pentagon, and we mourned again, as a fourth plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field. We could only imagine the terrible loss of life. As a nation, we dropped to our knees that day. For a few fleeting moments, all of our differences vanished as we came together in prayer and in mourning.

And then, as a nation, we got off our knees and set to work, steeled in our resolve. Over three thousand lives were lost that fateful day, and we mourn them still.

But as a nation, we also stand tall, proud that those forty million Americans born after September 11th were born into a country not that different than the one of September 10th. Changed, certainly - how could we not be? But not broken, not cowed. We owe those who lost their lives so much more than that.

We owe a debt, moreover, to those who serve. In the decade since the September 11th attacks, much has been required of our brave men and women in uniform, and they do our nation great honor. Many have sacrificed - far too many have given their lives - in service to country, so it is fitting that today, we pause to honor those fighting for our freedom, along with the first responders who saved countless lives a decade ago.

To those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001, and to those who risk their lives to defend us, we owe an America that remains true to her founding principles, for whom liberty is the byword ever and always. We don't always live up to this obligation, as individuals or a nation, but today, let us renew that pledge in solemn tribute. Let it be our enduring memorial.
Well put. Thank you, sir.

* Received via email.