On the eleventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Americans reflect on the tragic day and remember those who were lost.
"Like every American, I'll never forget how I heard the terrible news, on the car radio on my way to work in Chicago," President Barack Obama wrote in a USA Today op-ed last year. "Yet like a lot of younger Americans, our daughters have no memory of that day. Malia was just 3; Sasha was an infant. As they've grown, Michelle and I faced the same challenge as other parents in deciding how to talk with our children about 9/11."
He continued, "One of the things we've told them is that the worst terrorist attack in American history also brought out the best in our country. Firefighters, police and first responders rushed into danger to save others."
More than a decade after September 11, 2001, members of the political community are sharing their reflections and memories. Below, a slideshow of their thoughts and statements.
President Barack Obama
In his weekly address on Saturday, President Barack Obama marked the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. "This week, we mark the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks," he said. "It's a time to remember the nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children we lost, and the families they left behind. It's a chance to honor the courage of the first responders who risked their lives - on that day, and every day since. And it's an opportunity to give thanks for our men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed, sometimes far from home, to keep our country safe." He continued, "This anniversary is about them. It's also a time to reflect on just how far we've come as a nation these past eleven years." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/08/911-obama_n_1866969.html" target="_hplink">Click here </a>to read more.
Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney
Vice Presidential Nominee
Maine Gov. Paul LePage
Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) issued the following statement: <blockquote>"Today marks the eleventh anniversary of that tragic day on which America was forever changed. The terrorists who hijacked our skies, attempted to attack the White House, and flew planes into both the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were on a mission to weaken our resolve and instill fear in our hearts. America's courage was tested that day, but we answered the call. From the first responders who worked tirelessly to rescue the victims of those terrorists, to the countless people who flooded their local blood banks to give all they could, to our men and women in uniform who continue to protect our borders and our freedoms from other would-be attackers, America stands as a testament to the resiliency and the bravery of its people. I encourage all Mainers to take a moment out of their day today to reflect and mourn those we lost to this act of hatred and violence. I also hope that the people of Maine will take pride in knowing that in the face of tragedy, Americans rose united to face the challenges against our nation. That is what makes America so truly great."</blockquote>
The former Alaska Republican governor released the following statement <a href="https://www.facebook.com/sarahpalin/posts/10151168961268588" target="_hplink">on Facebook</a>: <blockquote>We remember that eleven years ago today nearly three thousand of our fellow Americans were killed by evil men. Every year on the anniversary of 9-11, we read out the names of those who died and comfort their families, and at military recruiting centers throughout the country, young men and women choose this day to enlist to serve their fellow Americans and ensure that something like this never happens again. While some try to move on with their lives and let the tragedy of that day recede in their memories, our men and women in uniform remain ever vigilant for us. Today, let's take time to remember the victims of September 11. Let's say a prayer for their families. Let's comfort their children left behind. And let's also remember our men and women in uniform who enlist to protect us from tragedies like this. Let's remember that American troops are still fighting in Afghanistan now, and they're dying this year at an average of one a day. Let's never forget the heavy price they pay to keep us free. - Sarah Palin</blockquote>
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus issued the following statement: <blockquote>"Today we pause to remember those we lost eleven years ago on September 11, 2001," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. "In prayer and in silence across America, we will honor the innocent lives lost in senseless acts of evil. We will remember, too, the acts of selfless valor witnessed that day. From patriots on Flight 93 to the first responders who courageously worked to save their fellow Americans, the bravery in the midst of terror inspired and united a nation." "We owe unyielding gratitude to our military men and women who have died defending our freedom, and we continue to pray for those serving overseas. We honor all who brought justice to those who brought hate to our shores, and we remain committed to a strong national defense against the terrorists and extremists who to this day seek to do us harm." "We all remember that dark day, where we were and what we were doing," said RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day. "But we also remember the lesson we learned: nothing can destroy the American spirit. If we remain steadfast in our defense of liberty, our children will inherit a more peaceful world. "May God bring comfort to the families of the victims of 9/11 this day, and may He always bless the United States of America."</blockquote>
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J)
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland issued the following statement: <blockquote>"On this solemn anniversary, we must never forget those who lost their lives in the most heinous terrorist attack in our country's history. To the families of those who were killed on that tragic day in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, we will always remember the victims and recount the stories of heroism that will be their legacy. To those who have served in our Armed Forces since 9/11, we remain grateful for their sacrifices. To all who have worked as first responders and kept our communities safe here at home, we offer our thanks for their steadfastness. "Eleven years later, thanks to the sacrifices and determination of our troops, Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to our country and Al-Qaeda has been severely weakened. The values we uphold - democracy, tolerance, and the free exchange of ideas - are stronger today despite Al-Qaeda's efforts to destroy them. On this anniversary, we pause to remember the horrific events of that day, and renew our commitment to keeping America safe, strong, and united." </blockquote>
House Speaker John Boehner
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) issued the following statement: <blockquote>"Today and every day we remember the attacks on American soil that fateful September day. Eleven years later, the American people continue to come together to remember the friends, family and neighbors we lost. They are heroes and will never be forgotten. "We also honor those who answered the call since then to serve in America's armed forces as we defend freedom and liberty both at home and abroad. While political differences often divide us, we must never forget what binds us together - we are all sons and daughters of the United States of America, the greatest country the world has ever known."</blockquote>
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor issued the following statement: <blockquote>"Today, we remember the nearly 3,000 innocent Americans who were killed on September 11, 2001 in New York, Pennsylvania and my home state of Virginia. We honor the victims, their families and the responders who saved lives and sacrificed their own in service to their fellow man. And we thank those who have since put themselves in harm's way to keep us safe. The best way to honor these heroes is to ensure another attack does not occur. "There is a need for strong U.S. leadership to combat terrorism that continues to threaten the global community and deter future attacks. Although Osama Bin Laden is dead, Al Qaeda remains a dangerous and capable organization dedicated to killing Americans and other radical terrorist groups continue to plot attacks against America and our allies. "We must follow the example that was set in the weeks following the attack by setting discord aside to jointly combat a common enemy that still wishes to do us harm. Our national security must be a priority and we must protect against efforts that would undermine our ability to prevent or respond to another devastating attack. The United States should never forget, and we must never quit."</blockquote>
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.)
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.)
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) issued the following statement: <blockquote>"Although eleven years have passed since September 11, 2001, our hearts still ache for the families of the victims as we recall the horror and disbelief of that day. The attacks were a barbaric assault on our nation's values, meant to crack the foundations of our civilization, strike fear in our hearts, and shake our resolve as a people. But the terrorists have failed in their twisted objectives, as we remain steadfast in our belief in the goodness of our nation and her enduring ideals. We will never forget the tragedy of that day and the lives that were that lost, just as we will never forget the sacrifices made by our troops to protect our freedoms. Today, we stand proudly as Americans first."</blockquote>
Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray
"Today, I ask District residents to pause to remember those whom we lost - including several of our own fellow residents, among them a group of D.C. Public Schools students and educators - in the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those loved ones they left behind, who feel their loss especially acutely on this anniversary. I also ask District residents to take time today to reflect on the sacrifices that our first responders and military personnel make every day, performing the difficult and dangerous work of keeping us safe. This is especially true of the many District firefighters and police officers who, by virtue of serving in the nation's capital, have a special role in protecting our nation's elected officials, federal buildings, scores of visitors and District residents. This is also particularly true of the District residents who fight under our nation's flag for democracy around the world even though we do not enjoy voting representation here at home. Today, I salute these brave members of the armed forces, firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement: <blockquote>I remember the bright, blue morning of September 11, 2001 like it was yesterday. And while our country has begun to heal from the wounds of those terrible attacks over the last decade, the scars remain. No matter how many years pass, we'll never forget the thousands of innocent people who died in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. They were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brother and sisters, spouses and friends / who were simply doing their jobs or catching a plane. So it is fitting that we pause each year to pay tribute - and to remember. The memories of that dark day in our shared history are painful, but they give me hope as well. On September 11th, and during the difficult months that followed, Americans showed the world how a unified nation can fight back against darkness and fear. In the face of great evil, so many rushed forward to show great courage, dignity and kindness. So today we also pause to remember the firefighters, who rushed into the World Trade Center, knowing they might never come out. We pause to remember the police officers and rescue workers who hurried to the scene, combed through the debris and shepherded New Yorkers to safety. Some of them gave their lives that day. We pause to remember the bravery of the members of our nation's Armed Forces, intelligence community and Foreign Service, as well as the sacrifices of their families, who have borne the burdens of war for more than a decade. Too many have given their lives to the effort to crush al Qaeda, bring Osama bin Laden to justice and keep America safe. And we pause to remember the unbreakable spirit of these United States of America.</blockquote>
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
Hour Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy
9/11 Commission Chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton issued the following statement: <blockquote>"Today marks eleven years since the 9/11 attacks on our country. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims and survivors of that tragic day. We commend the progress our government has made in reforming and strengthening the institutions that protect us. We commend the sustained commitment and dedication of the tens of thousands of military, federal, state, and local officials, law enforcement and first responders who have done so much to keep us safe. "As the years pass the danger exists that we will lose focus, divert attention to other concerns. But the threat of terrorism persists and our enemies continue to devise new ways to harm us. Fighting these emerging threats should not be a partisan issue. We owe it to the American people to keep our attention riveted on ensuring we are taking every step to keep the country secure. "Eleven years after the event, some important 9/11 Commission recommendations have still not been implemented and require immediate attention. We call on the government to build out an interoperable, broadband network for first responders. We encourage Congress to take the steps to reform its oversight of intelligence and national security institutions, and to help those agencies make the changes and confront the challenges that will make them stronger and better. Congress and the administration should remain ever vigilant and exert maximum leadership to ensure terrorists do not acquire nuclear or radiological weapons, a prospect that would be a grave threat to us. And finally, we encourage the administration to put teeth into the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board that the Commission recommended and legislation created. That Board will help ensure that there is a proper balance between the many security measures that have been implemented since 9/11 and our tradition of privacy and civil liberty."</blockquote>
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine)
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) issued the following statement: <blockquote>We all remember what we were doing on 9/11--we remember where we were, who we were with and how we felt. But we must also take this opportunity to remember all that has happened in the years since then and all the men and women who have sacrificed and served to keep our country safe. Today our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of September 11, the first responders who risked all and with all of those who have served and sacrificed in the wars that followed those terrorist attacks and those who serve today.</blockquote>
Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.)
Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) issued the following statement: <blockquote>Eleven years ago today, the American people endured an unforgettable tragedy. Over the course of just a few hours in New York City, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon in Virginia, America lost nearly 3,000 of her sons and daughters. It was an unspeakable act, an attack designed to weaken the American spirit and darken the hope that defines this great nation. But we were not broken. Heroes rushed into the burning buildings, and Americans of every background came together to hold one another up in the face of this unimaginable act of evil. More than a decade later, we remain a nation devoted to the simple truth that freedom will always prevail over fear, and regardless of the challenges we face, America stands strong. Today, we remember all those who were lost on September 11th, 2001, those who courageously sacrificed their lives in the rescue attempts, and the brave men and women who continue to fight for our freedom abroad.</blockquote>
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H) issued the following statement: <blockquote>"Today we reflect on the tragic events of September 11, 2011. We remember the victims, we remember the smoke, we remember the feeling of loss and despair. But we also remember how Americans came together, with neighbors helping neighbors, parents comforting children, and communities banding together in the face of such a senseless attack. I was the Governor during the tragic 9/11 attacks and will never forget that we lost 10 of New Hampshire's own that day. While we can never bring them back, we honor their memory by holding true to our American values--unity, tolerance, and freedom. These are the lessons we are reminded of today. This is how we pay tribute to those who we lost. Today we also honor our country's brave heroes, our first responders and our troops. These men and women protect our families and our freedom. We thank them now, and forever. As we each reflect on that fateful day, we should be filled with pride for our country. The United States has shown that it will always be a beacon of hope and a haven for those seeking freedom."</blockquote>
Former D.C. Mayor Marion S. Barry, Jr.
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