Expressing Sense Of The house Regarding September 11, 2001

Floor Speech

By:  Howard Berman
Date: Sept. 9, 2009
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 722) expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the terrorist attacks launched against the United States on September 11, 2001.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

The text of the resolution is as follows:

Whereas on the morning of September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked and destroyed four civilian aircraft, crashing two of them into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and a third into the Pentagon outside of Washington, DC;

Whereas the passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93 fought heroically and sacrificed their own lives by crashing the plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to prevent terrorist hijackers from killing additional innocent Americans;

Whereas nearly 3,000 innocent men, women, and children were murdered in the attacks;

Whereas eight years later, the United States of America continues to mourn the lives lost on September 11, 2001;

Whereas by targeting symbols of American strength and prosperity, the attacks were intended to assail the principles and values of the American people and to intimidate the Nation and its allies;

Whereas the United States remains steadfast in its determination to defeat, disrupt, and destroy terrorist organizations and seeks to harness all elements of national power, including its military, economic, and diplomatic resources, to do so;

Whereas Congress has passed, and the President has signed, numerous laws to protect the Nation, prevent terrorism at home and abroad, assist victims of terrorism, and support, in the field and upon return, the members of the Armed Forces who courageously defend the United States;

Whereas the terrorist attacks that have occurred around the world since September 11, 2001, serve as reminders that the hateful inhumanity of terrorism poses a common threat to the free world and to democratic values;

Whereas the United States has worked cooperatively with the nations of the free world to capture terrorists and bring them to justice;

Whereas the United States remains committed to building strong and productive counterterrorism alliances;

Whereas immediately following September 11, 2001, the United States Armed Forces moved swiftly against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which the President and Congress had identified as enemies of America;

Whereas in doing so, brave members of the Armed Forces left loved ones in order to defend the Nation; and

Whereas many members of the Armed Forces remain abroad, defending the Nation from further terrorist attacks and continuing to battle al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, by the House of Representatives, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes September 11 as both a day to mourn and remember those taken from their loved ones and fellow citizens, and a day for the people of the United States to recommit to the Nation and to each other;

(2) once again extends its deepest sympathies to the friends, families, and loved ones of the innocent victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks;

(3) honors the heroic service and sacrifices of first responders, law enforcement personnel, State and local officials, volunteers, and others who aided the victims and, in so doing, bravely risked and often sacrificed their own lives and health;

(4) expresses gratitude to the foreign leaders and citizens of all nations who continue to stand in solidarity with the United States against the international scourge of terrorism;

(5) asserts, in the strongest possible terms, that the fight against terrorism is not a war on any nation, any people, or any faith;

(6) recognizes the heroic service of United States personnel, including members of the United States Armed Forces, United States intelligence agencies, and the United States diplomatic service, and their families, who have sacrificed much, including their lives and health, to defend their country against terrorists;

(7) vows that it will continue to take whatever actions are appropriate to defend the people of the United States and to identify, intercept, and defeat terrorists, including providing the United States Armed Forces, United States intelligence agencies, and the United States diplomatic service with the resources and support to effectively accomplish this mission; and

(8) calls on all Americans to renew their devotion to the universal ideals that make the Nation great: freedom, pluralism, equality, and the rule of law.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from California (Mr. Berman) and the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.

Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous materials on the resolution under consideration.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?
There was no objection.

Mr. BERMAN. I rise in strong support of this resolution, and I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution pays homage to the lives lost on September 11, 2001, and recognizes the anniversary as not only a time of solemn commemoration but also as a demonstration of America's great resolve in combating terrorism. It extends our enduring and deeper condolences to the friends, families and loved ones of the innocent victims, and recognizes the heroism of U.S. service men and women who defend our country today. It honors the Nation's first responders and others whose valiant efforts were a credit to their country on that horrible day, and it honors them as they continue to help keep us safe.

It expresses gratitude to the leaders and citizens of other countries who assisted, supported, and stood by the United States in the aftermath of the attack.

In America's modern and fragmented society, collective memories are few. But each of us remembers where we were on 9/11 when we heard the news. We remember the days of unity that followed when we acted together to protect this country from those who were determined to bring us to our knees. We remember the efforts that Congress, the executive branch, and the American people have made since then to protect our Nation from a real and ongoing threat. And even though 8 years have passed, we must remember that al Qaeda, while under pressure everywhere, remains a serious threat to the United States.

The very al Qaeda leadership responsible for ordering the attacks on September 11 continues to rally those who would do us harm and, along with its Taliban allies, seeks to defeat our troops in Afghanistan.

This is a time when we must transcend partisan politics and stand together to recall a moment when terrorists targeted the very symbols of American strength. Our values and our very foundation were under attack, and yet we persevered, and we will carry on the fight against extremists who seek to do us harm.

In this battle, the global realities of the 21st century require that we use not only our military but all of the tools available to us: economic, financial, diplomatic, and cultural resources to promote a better alternative to extremism and to protect our national security.

Mr. Speaker, none of us will forget what happened 8 years ago. We will always remember the victims of 9/11 and the loved ones who survived them. We will always honor the first responders who lost their lives that day and those in uniform at home and abroad who risk their lives today and every day to defend America.

We will continue to promote our founding principles of freedom and equality and ensure that the lives lost in pursuit of our ideals are never forgotten.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.