EXPRESSING SENSE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF TERRORIST ATTACKS LAUNCHED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 -- (House of Representatives - September 13, 2006)
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Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I rise to join my colleagues in marking the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Today we pause, as the nation did on Monday, to honor the brave Americans who lost their lives in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania on that tragic day.
As we debate this resolution we cannot help but remember the chaos, fee and violence we faced 5 years ago. Terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, symbols of our economic and military strength, in an attempt to destroy our most basic freedoms and values. Yet, as we look back we also vividly recall that in the midst of the unprecedented horror of that day, we see the very best of America: Firefighters and first responders rushing into danger, airline passengers sacrificing themselves to save others, and Americans coming together in unity and common purpose.
It is in this spirit that we not only look back at the past five years but also look forward to the difficult challenges ahead of us and the sober reminder that the terrorist threat against our nation is still very real. Last month's disrupted plot to attack airliners reminds us why it is even more important today that we rededicate ourselves to securing our homeland by fully implementing all of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and closing the gaps that still exist in our aviation, transit and port security. While there may be disagreement over whether or not we are safer today, we can all agree that much more needs to be done to protect and defend the American people.
The War on Terror that started on that fateful day five years ago is still far from finished. The threat posed by Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations remains very real. Osama bin Laden and many of his allies are still at large, yet his trail has grown ``stone cold'' over the past two years and the CIA has shut down their unit responsible for tracking him. Afghanistan has become the forgotten front in the war on terror, pushed aside in favor of a war of choice against a country that posed no real threat to our nation and in which we find ourselves mired in a seemingly endless occupation. The Taliban, the former rulers of Afghanistan who supported Al Qaeda's attack on our nation, has grown again in strength as we have grown distracted by Iraq.
This is a time of great consequence for our nation. Unfortunately, slogans and partisan attacks have once again become substitutes here for serious debate on the national security challenges we face. This is clearly evident in the resolution before us, which contains divisive language designed to score political points instead of bringing this country together. As we move ahead, I hope that we can remember that which unites us as Americans and not which divides us as partisans.