Eleven years ago, America endured a tragedy that shook our country to its core. I remember how vulnerable we felt as a nation after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It was a challenging time for us, but we came together as a nation and supported each other. As I think back on that day 11 years ago, I am so thankful for the collaborative work by our military and intelligence agencies since then to prevent another major attack on the United States.
I remember driving to the office on September 11, 2001, and hearing that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. When I arrived at the office, I learned a second plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and that a third had crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth plane was still missing. I learned later it crashed into a field in Pennsylvania before the terrorists could reach their intended target thanks to the heroism of the passengers on board. That we were under attack by terrorists was obvious.
I remember the disbelief and the heartache. My heart and prayers still go out to all the families of those who lost their lives in the Pentagon, in Pennsylvania and the World Trade Center.
The last eleven years have been a time of recovery and resurgence. The passage of time has revealed the strength that bonds Americans together and shows to the world the resilience of our democracy.
Since that day, the United States has worked tirelessly to combat terrorism. Last year, we achieved a significant victory in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. Thanks to the work of our military and intelligence community, including the more than 5,000 South Dakotans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, our country is stronger and better protected. Our efforts have been successful, but we need to stay vigilant as the threat of terrorism remains.
If you are looking to volunteer your time to honor our heroes this September 11, consider reaching out to a local charity or create your own project in your neighborhood. You can also visit www.Serve.gov to find service projects in your community. Together, let us remember this day and all of the sacrifices that have been made to keep us safe.