One year ago, Hurricane Sandy's landfall devastated communities up and down the East Coast -- a tragedy that demanded massive rescue, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. Today, we remember our fellow Americans who lost their lives to that storm, and we comfort the families who grieve them still. And while there are still homes to rebuild and businesses to reopen, the last year has also served as a reminder of the strength and resilience of the American people. We've seen first responders act with heroism, strangers lend a helping hand, and entire communities come together to heal. There's more work to do, but that's the spirit with which we'll continue to do it for our fellow Americans who still need a hand.
Over the past year, my Administration has fought for these communities throughout the response, and the federal government will remain by their side as our fellow citizens rebuild. We've provided billions of dollars of assistance to hundreds of thousands of people and small business owners through direct aid, grants, and loans. We've helped thousands of families stay in their homes, communities cut through red tape and bureaucracy to receive the help they need, and worked with state and local officials to open 97% of public beaches before Memorial Day, sending a strong message to the country that the shore was open for business. Through a federal commitment to a long-term rebuilding effort, our roads, bridges, hospitals and businesses are coming back stronger than before.
That's who we are as Americans -- we take care of our own. We leave nobody behind. And as long as our fellow Americans continue to travel the long and sometimes difficult road to recovery, their country will stay with them every step of the way.