Text of a statement delivered today by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, during House consideration of a resolution on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Statement of Ros-Lehtinen:
It has been 7 years since the unimaginable happened - unimaginable but nevertheless real. It is difficult to believe that the months and years have passed so quickly. But although the passage of time cannot erase the scars, it often shows mercy by soothing the raw wounds of experience and transforming them into memory.
And that is our purpose here today, to remember - to remember the victims and to remind ourselves of the hatred that fuels the enemies of freedom and their desire to destroy us, our homeland, and everything we represent.
Every American, and millions around the globe, remember that day, remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news and turned on their televisions. They remember the numbing shock and horror. All wanted desperately to do something to help, and yet there was so little that could be done to relieve the suffering and fear. Thank God there were men and women in a position to help and who did so at great risk and great cost to themselves.
We honor those individuals for their bravery, none of whom sought fame, and many of whom lost their lives so that others might live. But while it is appropriate that we remember the events of that day, mourn those we lost, and celebrate the many heroes, our attention should not be fixed entirely on the past. For the attack on us was not a single blow but the declaration of a war.
We suddenly learned that this war had already been fought against us for many years and in many places, but we had not recognized it for what it was. From the taking of our embassy and Americans hostage in Iran in 1979, to the bombing of our embassy compound and Marine barracks in Beirut in the early 80s, to the first World Trade Center bombing by Islamist terrorists in 1993, and to the attacks on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, on the USS Cole, and on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in the 90s.
The goal of our self-proclaimed enemies is not to defeat us but to destroy us. For they must destroy us if they are to destroy the civilization we defend, which they have defined as their ultimate aim. Their fantasies cannot be made true as long as we exist to stop them.
This is a new type of war which presents unfamiliar challenges and will test us in ways for which the methods of the past have only a limited use. Securing victory will task our mental and material resources and require innovative approaches and unconventional solutions. But our courage, steadfastness, and determination will be as greatly challenged.
In the seven years since we were attacked, we have come to know our enemies, their plans, and their methods of operation. As we see them more clearly, we are increasingly able to uncover their networks and locate their hiding places. But we should not expect an easy success. Our enemies have many allies and have sunk deep roots that will not easily be torn out.
Even as I speak, our warriors are fighting for us and for their country far away from their homes. I am proud that my stepson and daughter-in-law are two of those warriors who served in Iraq and, Lindsay, in Afghanistan also.
We pray for the success of all our personnel in harm's way, knowing that victory will not be achieved in one decisive battle, but in many small ones, perhaps stretching over many years and fought in many ways and in many places around the globe.
Let us remember this as we prepare our defenses and make our plans to seek out and destroy those who would destroy us. We must not deceive ourselves with the hope that this threat will just go away, that our enemies will tire of the battle, that they will experience a change of heart and renounce the evil that they have committed and eagerly plan to do again.
We must remember that we cannot hide. We must not fall prey to the easy belief that there are easy solutions, because there are none. But there is no room for despair. For more than two centuries, our country has risen to meet challenges that at the time seemed impossible, when the odds against us were too great and a path to victory difficult to see.
And we have always prevailed. So on this day of remembrance, let us reflect upon all those whom we have lost, on all those who guard us, and on the task remaining for us. And let us do our duty as have all the generations that have preceded us. God bless the United States of America now and always.