( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
I was honored to present remarks at the 9-11 remembrances in Walpole and Norfolk today. I shared the following thoughts:
When I was asked to say a few words at this event, I was at a complete loss. What words can possibly express the horror, the loss, the things we saw and the feelings we all felt on September 11, 2001?
In the hours and days after that morning, we learned that 3,000 American civilians, people just like us, with families and responsibilities and lives just like ours, died at Ground Zero. We learned that men and women working in the Pentagon had been attacked and killed by an unseen enemy. And we learned of the heroism and self-sacrifice of the passengers on Flight 93, who were the first Americans to launch the fight against terrorism on that terrible day. It is a loss that will shape our generations and our Nation forever.
But we also learned about the true character of our firefighters, our police, our ambulance crews that day. As thousands ran out of the towers, these public safety personnel ran in. It’s easy to say that the men and woman of our public safety services will risk their lives for us. But on that day, we watched incredible courage and irrefutable proof of their dedication to duty and to us. I can never look at any firefighter, or police officer, or emergency services worker without being thankful for them and for their willingness to pay any price for our safety.
We learned about the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women of our military services and their families. These sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, have left these shores to take the fight against terrorism from Manhattan to the Middle East. They have fought bravely, effectively, and victoriously, and have chased the shadowy enemy to the ends of the Earth. Their sacrifice is the price of our freedom. We honor those who have served and are serving, and we remember and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, including local sons Andy Bacevich and Adam Kennedy, who never came home.
And we have learned about ourselves as a people. In the days and weeks following 9-11, Americans came together as I have never seen before. We were not Republicans or Democrats, or conservatives or liberals, or Red Sox fans or Yankees fans, or any of the silly lines that we draw around ourselves. We were Americans, standing united against a common foe. And we still are today.
The enemy made a fundamental miscalculation on 9-11. The strength of America does not stand in big buildings. The power of democracy is not a thing that can be easily crushed. When attacked, if anything, our resolve as Americans is strengthened. The American spirit knows sacrifice and loss, the American spirit knows discovery and innovation, the American spirit knows courage and strength, the American spirit knows love and hope. The American spirit resides within each and every one of us, and nothing and no one can ever take that away.
Throughout our Nation’s history, we rise together to overcome the challenges to our country and to lift the world with us. It is a founding value of America. We have seen that in the Greatest Generation’s work and sacrifice to crush Nazism, we have seen that in the defeat of communism in the Cold War, and we will see that in the inevitable destruction of Al Qaeda.
We are Americans, we honor the thousands who died or lost loved ones on this day, we are in debt to our military men and women for their continuing sacrifice, and we will never forget.