Thank you, Dr. Heck. It is an honor to be here today and to be able to share a few words in memory of what happened on 9/11.
9/11 changed our world forever. It is this generation's Pearl Harbor, and it will live on in infamy. Most of us will always remember where we were when we heard the news of the attack.
I was at home with our then 1 1/2 -year-old daughter, who was just finishing breakfast. It was a bright, clear, sunny day in the fall. The doorbell rang. My neighbor was on my doorstep, saying that he'd just heard on the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center towers. Thinking it a tragic accident, we turned on the TV and were horrified to watch a second plane crash into the second tower. This wasn't an accident. America was under attack.
The hours after that were surreal as we learned of the attack on the Pentagon, of the brave passengers who intervened on Flight 93, of the airplane trails in the sky that did an about-face, then dissipated--they were no more--as planes were grounded all across this country. We then watched in horror on TV as the towers collapsed and thousands lost their lives.
My neighbor left; and I, like most Americans, turned in prayer to the one who gives comfort, strength and hope during times like this. I held my daughter close, wondering what the future would bring.
Since that time, our men and women in uniform, our intelligence community and our law enforcement have confronted the face of terror head-on and have prevented another attack. For that we are so grateful. We recognize their service and their sacrifice and pray a similar attack never occurs again. This Sunday, we commemorate 10 years since that fateful day. We each will remember the day in our own way, but one theme is prevalent: We will never forget.
We mourn the loss of the lives of thousands of innocent Americans, whose lives were snuffed out in a senseless act of terror. We commend the first responders and volunteers who intervened in the hours and days following the event to get us back on our feet again. We commend their service and their courage, but we must remain vigilant.
Forces of evil still want to kill innocent citizens and snuff out the beacon of freedom and liberty to the world. We will not be deterred. We will continue to uphold the principles of freedom. We will not turn back.
With God's grace, we will prevail and continue to be a beacon of hope for generations to come.