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Public Statements

Reflections on September 11

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LANCE. Thank you very much, Dr. Heck.

Mr. Speaker, the 21st century began, for all intents and purposes, on September 11, 2001. It did not begin well.

The war against terrorism is among the greatest public policy challenges of our generation. The deceased were casualties of war to the same extent as any person serving on the battlefield. The terrorists made no distinction between members of the Armed Forces and civilians. The terrorists made no distinction between small children and infants and adults, and they killed their victims at will.

We in New Jersey lost roughly 700 people, second only to the State of New York.

I stated on the floor of the New Jersey State Legislature 10 years ago--and I repeat here today on the floor of the United States House of Representatives--that it will take the genius and the tenacity of a free society to overcome the scourge of terrorism, but overcome it, we shall. We have made much progress in the last 10 years; but, Mr. Speaker, more progress needs to be made.

On December 8, 1941, speaking here in the House of the people, the House of Representatives, Franklin Roosevelt said famously that, no matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory. That is as true today regarding the war against terrorism as it was when Franklin Roosevelt spoke it about World War II so many years ago.

In one of the subsequent stanzas of ``America the Beautiful,'' Katharine Bates, the author, wrote of thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears. But, of course, that is not true. Human tears are still shed based upon what happened on 9/11, and alabaster cities gleam not as brightly based upon the horrific acts of the terrorists.

At the National Cathedral on September 14, 2001, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, said this: ``There are prayers that help us last through the day or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers that give us strength for the journey, and there are prayers that yield our will to a will greater than our own.

``This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance and love have no end; and the Lord of life holds all who die and all who mourn.''

The President went on to state at the conclusion of his remarks words that I believe are from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. The President said: ``As we have been assured, neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth can separate us from God's love.''

Mr. Speaker, this weekend, we honor the memories of those who were lost on 9/11. We also honor the brave first responders to the horrific acts of a decade ago and recall the tremendous heroism and self-sacrifice of so many in New York, at the Pentagon, and on an airplane over western Pennsylvania.

May God bless all of those who died on 9/11 and their families, those who
bravely responded to the tragedy, and those who have ever put on the Nation's uniform to serve and protect us from the dangers we have faced and continue to face.

And, Mr. Speaker, may God continue to bless the United States of America.


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