Thank you all for being here this morning as we mark the most somber of anniversaries.
We gather here 10 years removed from the events of September 11, 2001, a day that feels both as close as yesterday and as far away as another lifetime.
Over the past few weeks, in the buildup to this day, we've all seen the photos once again, watched the videos and listened to the stories of the survivors and those who lost loved ones.
Reliving those events today is every bit as painful as it was 10 years ago.
In the years since the attacks, however, the painful memories of that bright fall morning have been balanced by our recollections of the valor we witnessed on that day, the fine examples of devotion and sacrifice displayed by the brave men and women who faced death in an effort to save their fellow Americans.
We're moved by the haunting images of firefighters climbing stairs in World Trade Center 1 and 2.
We're touched by the stories of members of our military and nearby civilians, braving the flames to pull the injured to safety at the Pentagon.
We're inspired by the passengers on United 93 who uttered their last words to friends and loved ones over cell phones as they prepared to retake their plane and save lives on the ground.
There's power in those sacrifices, power that elevated our nation during some of our darkest hours.
If our enemies' goal was to demoralize America and paralyze us with fear, they failed...miserably.
Instead, the attacks of 9/11 provided inspiration to a new generation of American patriots, moved to action by the selflessness we all witnessed in New York, Washington, and in the skies over Pennsylvania.
Some of these patriots joined the military, serving on the vanguard of the War on Terror, helping liberate millions from tyranny's oppression.
Some became firefighters, police officers, or paramedics, each one living their life with the same dedication, and the same spirit of honor, as those who died on 9/11.
That spirit of honor can be found today in people from all walks of life throughout America, our nation forever changed by the heroism of that day.
In fact, that spirit of honor can be found right now in the brave men and women fighting wildfires across Texas placing their lives on the line to save lives and property from the flames that continue to ravage our state.
What the terrorists didn't understand was an essential part of our national character, our ability to find unity in the face of adversity.
When faced with an act of overwhelming evil, we countered with caring and love for those who were affected and a determination to strike back against those who committed these acts.
Thanks to the courage and determination of a team of Navy SEALS and anonymous members of our military and intelligence communities, the mastermind behind the attacks has paid the ultimate price for his crimes.
However, if 9/11 taught us anything, it's that we must remain vigilant; we must continue to pursue those who would do us harm; we must remain committed to disrupting and eliminating the terrorist element that would like nothing more than to attack our nation again and kill innocent civilians.
More than anything, we need to remain forever dedicated to the cause that has defined our nation, the cause that separates us from the terrorists that hate us, the cause of freedom.
We will never forget those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and we will never forget the men and women who have died in service to our nation in the decade since.
May God bless you and, through you, may he continue to bless the Great State of Texas and this country we love so much.