On this very significant anniversary of one of our nation’s most tragic days, it is so important for all of us to reflect on what September 11 means to our country a decade after the events of that day forever changed this nation.
Today, a decade after September 11, 2001, I’m sure each one of us can remember exactly where we were when we first learned that our country was under attack.
At the time, I was West Virginia’s Secretary of State. I remember my staff coming into my office and turning on my TV, asking, “Did you hear what happened?” After that, nothing more needed to be said as I watched the live telecast of the South tower being hit.
Like so many Americans, I knew that something we could never anticipate and never imagine had just happened to our great country.
So many innocent Americans died that day, and so many Americans have given their lives in defense of our country in the years since. Words cannot describe my gratitude for their sacrifice and my sadness for their loss. Gayle and I keep their families in our prayers, and I encourage all of you to remember them today and every day.
But that day, even as we all felt grief from our great loss and the shock of vulnerability, our country learned of the great strength and character of our heroes.
Our people united in a way that I had never seen, and today we still share a common bond and responsibility to stay vigilant and help keep our great country safe.
Our military forces dedicated themselves to the war on terror and their bravery and skill brought justice to many of the terrorists who sought to do Americans harm.
The day Osama bin Laden was killed, I truly believe we sent a strong signal to the rest of the world: no matter what it takes, the United States of America will prevail. And the day Osama bin Laden was killed, we started a new chapter in the war on terror.
Since 9/11, we have been fighting in Afghanistan in what has become the longest war in the history of our country. A war that began for the right reasons and one in which our brave men and women successfully ended the threat of al Qaeda based in Afghanistan but a war that has become a misguided effort to build another country at the expense of our own.
I have been very outspoken that it is time to end the wars abroad and start rebuilding America, but I will always strongly support the war on terror, to seek and destroy our enemies wherever they may be.
And as we approach this very meaningful anniversary I believe the most important thing we can do as Americans is to try to recapture the spirit of unity we all felt that fateful day.
We must remember that despite our political differences, we all share one very important thing in common we are all Americans.
So today, I urge you to stop and remember what happened 10 years ago not just in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, but in the hearts and minds of all Americans who shared in the collective grief of this nation.
I urge you to honor the victims, survivors and families affected by 9/11 by remembering the pride we feel in this nation, the love of our freedoms and our way of life that unite us.
May God bless you, the state of West Virginia, and the United States of America.