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Recognizing September 11 As A National Day Of Service And Remembrance

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I want to commend Chairman Towns and Ranking Member Issa for bringing this bill to the floor. I want to thank Congresswoman Matsui for the tremendous work that she has done in leading the way on this legislation. I am proud to be a cosponsor of the legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my good friend from New York, Mr. Engel, and he really articulated the way all New Yorkers feel. September 11 will be a day that none of us will ever forget. It is a day that will just be embedded into us because of the terrible horror, the tragedy, all that occurred on that day, but also because of the tremendous valor, the tremendous dedication, and the tremendous sense of courage which was also demonstrated on that day.

I lost probably 150 constituents, friends, neighbors that day, and that is just all throughout downstate New York. Almost every Member of Congress can say the same thing about the large numbers of deaths in their districts and their friends, their neighbors who were murdered that day.

So it is really important, as we go forward, that September 11 never just be a day, never just be a holiday, never just be a day where maybe some people get off and some don't or a day that you use to go shopping. It should be a day where we find a way to remind ourselves of the sacrifice of that day, of the police officers and the firefighters and the EMTs and construction workers who actually ran into the burning towers and suffered those incalculable deaths, 343 firefighters, 60 police officers, a number of EMTs, a number of construction workers, all of whom were killed rescuing people that day.

Mr. Speaker, just as a historical note, this legislation initiated from an organization called MyGoodDeed, and this organization, one of the founders was Jay Winuk. His brother Glenn was a constituent of mine.

Glenn was actually working in Lower Manhattan that day as a lawyer, but he was also a volunteer firefighter. After he evacuated his own building, he ran into the World Trade Center and was killed. Just this past week, he was finally awarded the 9/11 Medal of Valor. But the Winuk family, in honor of Glenn, who really personified September 11 in that he was one of both a civilian and a firefighter, who in both capacities performed so brilliantly that day, his family was the starter of this organization, which was the genesis of this legislation.


Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, also, for instance, tomorrow, throughout my district, there will be various types of services being carried out. For instance, in my own office, we have a blood drive which is run by my assistant, Patricia Gartland, who will have people lined up from morning to night giving blood in honor of those killed on September 11.

In my own school district, the Seaford School District, there will be a large commemoration, and the coordinator, Ken Haskell, is a firefighter who lost two brothers on September 11. He is coordinating an effort where the students will show the good works that they did in honor of those who died on September 11.

So, Mr. Speaker, this is a day which, again, as tragic as it was, as horrible as it was, it is also a day from which tremendous good came from that. So let's go forward. Let's adopt this legislation in the spirit of what happened on September 11, both in memory of those who were murdered and in honor of those who gave their lives, and in honor of those who in the days afterwards, as Congressman Engel said, not just from New York but from all over the country, came to Lower Manhattan, came to the World Trade Center, came to the Pentagon, went to Pennsylvania to try to do what they could to help those and to take part in the rescue operation and recovery operation and really showed the unity of the Nation, maybe as never before.

With that, again, I thank the chairman, I thank the ranking member, I certainly thank Congresswoman Matsui, and I urge the adoption of the resolution.

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