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Fifth Anniversary of the Attacks of September 11, 2001

Location: Washington, DC

FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 -- (Senate - September 11, 2006)

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, 5 years ago today, al-Qaida terrorists launched a brutal sneak attack on American soil. It was their deadliest attack ever and a day America will never forget.

Today, we remember and honor the innocent victims of that attack and stand in support of their families and communities.

We honor the heroic police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel who rushed into burning buildings when everyone else was rushing out.

We honor the valiant passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, who gave their lives to save thousands of others--including, quite possibly, many in the building in which we stand.

We honor millions of good-hearted volunteers who lined up to help their fellow Americans and donated time, money, blood, and literally everything they could.

We honor the families who opened their homes, the houses of worship that opened their doors, and the schoolchildren who saw evil for the first time but were not afraid to open their hearts.

We honor the military and law enforcement personnel whose vigilance has kept us from attack since that day. It is because of their service we have not been attacked at home in the 5 years since.

Some have made the ultimate sacrifice, and we honor their families, while realizing the debt can never be repaid.

As the country reflects on what happened that tragic day, we must remember this: Two skyscrapers may be gone, but 5 years after 9/11, America stands taller than ever.

America is on the offense against terrorists, and America is winning the war on terror. And thanks to hard and dangerous work over the last 5 years, today, America is safer. To make us safer still, we continue to wage war against terrorists who would harm America here and around the world. Of the senior terrorist leaders whom our Government has been tracking, many have been apprehended or killed, and we are disrupting the flow of money, supplies, people, and information to the terrorists.

But we must stay on the offensive. This Congress must ensure that the brave men and women fighting under our flag have everything they need to complete their mission. War is horror, and none of us want these heroes torn away from their homes and families. But we must confront the fundamental reality of 9/11. The enemy was at war with us for years prior to that attack. It was only on that day that we began to fight back with the effort necessary to beat this warped and virulent strain of radical Islam. And we will prevail over the toxic death wish that preaches indiscriminate killing of men, women, and children in the Name of the Almighty.

Most importantly, all of us must do what we can to sustain the faith of our fellow citizens through this long and difficult war. When we began the fight after 9/11, we knew it would not be short, and we knew it would not be easy. In fact, this struggle will last years, perhaps decades. We cannot be sure when we will win, but we can be sure that we will win. We must sustain our faith because as long as we maintain our will to win, we will prevail.

Once before, America was the target of a surprise deadly attack. Two days after that attack, on December 9, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt addressed the Nation. Here is what he had to say:

When we resort to force, as now we must, we are determined that this force shall be directed toward ultimate good as well as against immediate evil. We Americans are not destroyers, we are builders. ..... We are going to win the war and we are going to win the peace that follows.

What was true then is truer today. We do not fight for death and destruction, as the terrorists do. We fight for liberty. That is America's greatest strength. And no terrorist attack will ever diminish it.

Five years ago today, Members of Congress from both parties and both Chambers stood united on the Capitol steps and sang ``God Bless America.'' In the days that followed, our Nation witnessed a resurgence in unity and in purpose.

Voluntarism soared. American flags sold out of stores overnight. Just as we stood united here, the country stood united against a growing threat.

This evening, Members of Congress will return to the steps and join together to remember that day of resolve. And as we once again ``swear allegiances to a land that's free,'' it is my sincere hope that we will reignite our united purpose.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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