Congressman Kevin Yoder made the following statement on the House floor this morning to observe the 11th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
Eleven years ago today, Americans found themselves under attack. We watched with shock and horror as hijacked passenger airplanes were flown into both World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. We all remember what we were doing that Tuesday when two-thousand, nine-hundred and ninety-six innocent Americans were killed in those tragic and unthinkable acts.
We also remember the heroic actions of the passengers aboard United Flight 93, who courageously fought the hijackers on their plane, and -- sacrificing their own lives -- ultimately saved countless others.
Courage and bravery have long been traits demonstrated by our fellow Americans; from declaring our country's independence, to fighting alongside our allies abroad in the name of freedom and liberty. Americans, though, are also resilient -- we band together, we pick each other up when we're knocked down, and we endure.
In Kansas, we are extremely proud of the men and women in our military that serve our country and defend our freedom and liberty around the globe. Their willingness to pay the ultimate sacrifice for their country -- their true heroism -- is known first-hand to only a small number; but is yet, sadly, far too common.
The 3rd District of Kansas lost two such heroes this summer as a result from combat operations in Afghanistan. Army Sergeant Mike Knapp was deployed out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. He was killed in mid-May while bravely serving his country only three days before he was scheduled to return home to Overland Park, Kansas. Also, Private First Class Cale Miller, deployed out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, lost his life in early June when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Private First Class Miller was a 2007 graduate of Olathe Northwest where he was a member of both the football and track teams. It breaks my heart each and every time I learn the news of a soldier who lost his life so our country can continue to live in freedom.
As we remember this day, the 11th anniversary of September 11th, we remember it by honoring all those innocent lives lost on that tragic day. We also remember the first responders, the firefighters and policemen, who charged to burning buildings in order to save lives, giving up their own in the process. Let us also recall the steely resolve of American patriotism and unity as our country courageously responded against the terrorists responsible for this tragedy.
On this day, let us also honor and support all veterans who have served our country. We pay tribute to those fellow Americans who serve in our military, protecting us and ensuring acts such as those of eleven years ago never happen again. Our message of thanks is one that cannot be spoken strongly enough. To those who serve, those who lose their lives defending our country, and the families and friends who support them, we are eternally grateful.