U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the following remarks at the Congressional 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol:
"More than a decade later, most of us still remember 9/11 like it was yesterday: the initial confusion, the horrifying realization of what was happening, the watching, the waiting, the grief, the anger, the resolve.
"And we remember how worried some people were about what the attacks would do to America. Would it weaken us in the world? Would it weaken us at home? Would we stand up? Would we shrink?
"Well, 11 years later we can say with certainty and pride that 9/11 didn't reveal the weakness of America. It revealed the greatness of America. We didn't have to wait long to see it.
"In the first moments after the attacks, we saw the courage of the first responders. In the days and weeks that followed, we saw the goodness and generosity of the volunteers who descended on New York. As the months turned into years, monuments were dedicated, mighty buildings rose again at the World Trade Center site, and of course we've all watched with admiration and gratitude as so many have stepped forward since the 9/11 attacks to serve in the armed forces and in our intelligence community. We honor them today too. Thanks to their service and sacrifice, America is a safer place, many who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks have been killed or captured. Many of those who harbored them are on the run. And across the globe, there is little doubt today that ours is the greatest fighting force the world has even known.
"Out of a great evil, we have seen greatness and goodness from our country and our countrymen. And that's why we can now mark this solemn anniversary not simply with pain sorrow but with a renewed pride in our nation, and an unbending confidence in the resilience and the goodness of its people.
"In her darkest hours, America always summoned the courage and the strength to persevere and to prevail. We now know that 9/11 was no different. And here's why -- because, as Americans, we believe that every person counts. That's why we're still haunted by the faces of those who died, by the hopes and dreams that were extinguished, by the families and friendships that were shattered on that crisp September morning 11 years ago. And that's why we are still determined to vindicate their lives.
"In remembering those we lost on 9/11, we testify to our shared belief that each and every one of them was irreplaceable. We renew our commitment to live lives worthy of their memory. And we pledge, once again, to do whatever it takes to keep Americans safe from those who still wish to do us harm."