September 11, 2001, is a day that forever changed America. As I reflect on that terrible day, I feel the same patriotism I felt then. I think of the bagpipe procession for firemen and policemen in New York honoring the lives of their fallen brothers. I think of the smoke plumes that billowed for days over the city and the American flags we all proudly flew in front of our homes. Thoughts from that day still stir emotions that inspire me to serve. Fortunately for America, I am not the only person that feels this way. A decade after the attacks Americans are still inspired to serve.
Americans showed their best at a time when we faced our worst. United as one American family, we held vigils to honor the memories of the fallen, volunteered our time to others, and donated our savings to help families of victims. Most of all, in the challenging and fearful days following 9/11 we relied on our freedom of worship -- a great freedom that America uniquely cherishes and protects.
When our nation was attacked we became a nation at war, one we did not seek or desire. As America soon relearned, war comes with tremendous costs. The flag draped coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base and funeral processions for our fallen heroes in small towns across Mississippi and America continue still. Ten Septembers later, we are a nation still at war. Our military and their family have endured repeated tours in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. Like the "greatest generation," never have so few sacrificed so much for so many.
As your Congressman, I had the opportunity to visit troops in Afghanistan over Memorial Day weekend. Many of the troops I visited were only 18 and 19 years of age. Ten years ago, these brave men and women were in elementary and middle school, yet like those who wore the uniform before them and still wear the uniform today; this new generation of war fighter continues to protect our freedom. America's resolve is not limited by age, sex, generation, race, or creed.
For me, September 11th is a moment in time that is forever preserved in the images of our minds. Despite the passing of time, we will always recall where we were the moment the first tower was hit. We grow older. Our families expand. Technology advances. Warfare evolves. However, the images from that day remain the same and the emotions stir the same feeling. When thinking of that tragic day, I still feel the same emotions I felt then. That is a commitment to our country and freedom and a strong desire to serve in our nation's military, in which I still proudly serve. I am blessed now to not only wear the uniform, but to serve you in Congress where I am committed to our country's security and freedom.
Americans have paid a tremendous sacrifice since 9/11. We've given both blood and treasure. Rest assured, ten years later, America is safer. We've liberated two countries from oppression. We've freed Iraq from a brutal dictatorship and transformed it to a burgeoning democracy in the Middle East. In Afghanistan, the citizens have freedoms and women are no longer treated as second class citizens. And we delivered Osama bin Laden the justice he deserved.
The unprovoked attacks of September 11, 2001, were the catalyst to the War on Terror. While I pray for peace and resolve, as your Representative I have a responsibility to keep America safe and secure. A decade later America is a safer country, but we must remain vigilant. Our continued security will require more service and sacrifice, and above all, heroism, of which America has in plentiful supply.