It has been 14 years since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 and yet the recollection of that heartbreaking tragedy feels as if it was just yesterday. 9/11 forever changed each of us and the Nation.
Today, let us honor and cherish the memory of nearly 3,000 individuals who died in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11 and the 6,500 service members who have given their lives since then. We will always remember the families and the sacrifices of their loved ones.
Each year, we commemorate Sept. 11 as Patriot Day, the National Day of Service and Remembrance. We will all reflect on exactly where we were on that morning. At the time, I was attending law school and working at a law firm in Council Bluffs. I spent the day glued to the TV in shock and awe. I will never forget the strength and unity that was shown by my fellow Americans in response to crisis. After that fateful event I volunteered to serve the country as a USACE civilian deploying to both Iraq and Kuwait.
Since 9/11, 2 million Soldiers and Civilians – including more than 10,000 USACE Civilians – have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Today and every day, we remember them for their selfless service and extend our gratitude to each member. We keep those Soldiers and Civilians currently deployed in harm’s way in our thoughts and prayers with confidence that all will return safely to their families and friends. We also remember and pray for the first responders, the law enforcement, and firefighters for their service and continued protection of our communities.
“This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day.” President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001.
Our Nation continues to grow stronger and resilient; however we still should strive to embody that same sense of support, pride and patriotism that inspired us that day.