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Public Statements

Remembering September 11, 2001

Location: Washington, DC

"I want to start by acknowledging all the veterans, the active military, the reservists, and the National Guard members who are with us today. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

"Ten years after 9/11, every single one of us remembers exactly where we were when we realized what was happening. We remember what we were doing. And we also remember this:

"That we came together, just as we are today.

"It started on the planes and inside the World Trade Center.

"Ordinary people just sitting at their desks one minute were suddenly risking their lives to save people they had never met.

"Strangers on a plane were suddenly teaming up to thwart hijackers, knowing they probably wouldn't survive.

"Then there were the firefighters, ordering people to get out of buildings that they were running into…the volunteers, who poured in from across the country … the emergency medical personnel, the police, the nurses, the doctors…

"That was the first wave.

"The second wave had a very different task, and they have done a spectacular job.

"Although Al Qaeda had been targeting us for years, few people saw 9/11 coming. But all of us expected more attacks to follow.

"And the only reason they haven't is because we went on offense. Our brave military men and women took the fight to enemy, every last one of them a volunteer. And 10 years later, I can tell you this: Al Qaeda has suffered crippling losses -- including, at long last, Osama bin Laden himself.

"Kentucky has contributed more than most.

"When I visited Afghanistan earlier this year, nearly one out of five of all U.S. forces in that country -- were from units based in Kentucky. Ten years ago, the nation called and Kentucky answered. And it kept answering.

"And I know all of us will feel an incredible pride later this week when a young Kentuckian named Dakota Meyer receives the highest award for valor in combat that our nation can confer.

"To date, more than 100 Kentuckians have made the ultimate sacrifice in the War on Terror.

"We honor all of them today, and all who've served in this fight.

"We honor all those in law enforcement and public safety who risk their lives to keep us safe, many of whom also serve in the guard and reserves and have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Some of us may have wondered on 9/11 whether America had it in her to respond. But today, there should be no question. We didn't hide. We fought back. We showed the terrorists what America's all about.

"You can destroy our symbols. But you can't destroy our spirit.

"That's why people continue to flock to America, including those who will become U.S. citizens here today.

"They want to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth.

"Ten years after 9/11 we remain vigilant and we remain resolved.

"But, above all, we are grateful to the men and women who've given so much since that day.

"And for the great privilege of being an American."

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