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Madam Speaker, this resolution marks the ninth anniversary of the unprovoked attack on our Nation by individuals without conscience and on behalf of masters without mercy.
Those who witnessed the events of September 11 will always remember the inconceivable images and seemingly impossible events that unfolded before our own eyes. But however painful our own memories may be, they cannot compare with the suffering of the innocents who bore the horror directly, nor with those of their families and friends whose lives were torn apart without any warning.
Our purpose here is to honor and remember the victims and the many heroes of that endless day, September 11, 2001. We honor the thousands of innocent men, women and children who were targeted and murdered simply because they were Americans or because they embraced the concept of freedom and democracy. We honor those who, instead of being immobilized by fear, immediately began to search for and rescue survivors at great risk to themselves, many of whom lost their lives in their efforts to save many others.
We honor those in our military who have fought our enemies in distant lands and have borne heavy burdens to prevent them from striking us yet again. And even as I speak, men and women of our Armed Forces are fighting for us and for our country far from their homes in far-off lands. And it has affected many people, even here in Washington, D.C. and in the Congress and our staff. My own chief of staff has two sons that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Marine Corps, and there are many others as we speak today.
On September 11, we were forced to realize that what we had experienced was not really an isolated blow but instead only the latest assault in a war that radical Islamist militants had been waging against the United States for years.
We had already suffered many casualties over the preceding decades, but had not understood that these were in fact from a series of battles in an escalating war against the United States and a war against freedom. These include the taking of our embassy in Iran and the holding of American hostages for 444 days, the destruction of our embassy and marine barracks in Lebanon in the 1980s, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the attacks on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, and the attacks on the U.S.S. Cole and our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania also in the 1990s.
And at this very moment, our enemies are preparing to strike us again and with the same intent of slaughtering as many innocent people as they possibly can.
We cannot protect ourselves by hoping that somehow we will be spared new attacks, for these are certain to come unless we take action to prevent them. And we have done so.
Over the past 9 years, we have come to know our enemies, their plans, and their methods.
We are daily engaged and seeking them out, finding them in their hiding places and in their holes, uncovering their networks and eliminating their ability to harm us again. But our enemies have many allies and have sunk deep roots, roots that will not be easily destroyed. Victory will not be achieved in one decisive battle but through a sustained commitment that will stretch over many years. It will be fought in many different ways using the range of U.S. resources and capabilities and fought in many other places.
Some may shrink from that prospect, but if we are to prevail over this enemy that is relentless in its hatred for us, our commitment to our Nation and the principles that we stand for, we must not only match but exceed their determination, the determination of our adversaries.
This is not really a war of choice but one that has been forced upon us by men whose dark vision of the world cannot be realized without first destroying America and our freedoms. Repeatedly throughout its history our country has been challenged by forces that at times seemed impossible to overcome. But however dark the unknowns we faced and however great our fears, we never shrank from our duty as a Nation, and we have always prevailed with the good Lord's help.
And on this day, let us remember those that we have lost, the many heroes with which we have been blessed, and those with whom our safety depends, and let us remember that they gave their lives for our country. And we should do our duty as all generations that have preceded us have done. And God bless this country now and always.
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Madam Speaker, in closing, everyone that was alive on September 11 remembers that day and what they were doing. It's like those of us that were alive when President Kennedy was assassinated. We remember that day, we remember what we were doing. And the old timers, they remember Pearl Harbor and what they were doing on December 7, 1941. It is a day that the country, that the people, that the Nation should always remember because it involved real people losing their lives because of the concepts that we have in this Nation of freedom and liberty, something that is worth preserving.
It's important that we remember the 3,000 individuals that died that day. But Madam Speaker, it's equally important that we remember those that got to live. Because when those Twin Towers were set aflame, those volunteers, those firefighters, those emergency medical folks and those police officers, they rushed as hard as they could to get to that terror from the sky. And because they did so, many got to live for another day. And there are countless stories like that that occurred on September 11, how Americans reacted remarkably and with bravery.
Another example. This morning I was at Arlington Cemetery with my daughter Kellee and her husband, Anthony Shoemaker, and we were at the Tombof the Unknowns. And many Americans may not know, but the Tomb of the Unknowns is very close to the Pentagon. You can almost see it through the trees. And those soldiers, the Old Guard as they are called, that protect the Tomb of the Unknowns, they already knew about the two planes that had crashed into the World Trade Centers North and South.
And when that third plane came roaring across the skyline of Washington, D.C., headed straight for the Pentagon, just a few hundred yards from the Tomb of the Unknowns, those soldiers guarding the tomb never left their post. They stayed. In fact, they called for reinforcements. Yet another example of what Americans do when we are attacked.
And so we should remember those that died, those that got to live, and those that continue to fight for our freedoms today in places all over the world in the name of liberty and freedom.
And that's just the way it is.
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