Washington, Sep 9 -

Dear Neighbors,

We remember the exact moment, ten years ago Sunday, that we learned about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center in New York City. We remember the details of what we were doing and the confusion we felt about what was happening. At the time, I was a criminal judge in Harris County. I was driving my jeep to the courthouse in downtown Houston listening to KILT when news anchor Robert B. Mcentire reported that a plane had crashed into a tower at the World Trade Center. As the day continued, we learned more details about the other planes that crashed into the second tower, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. Our initial confusion turned into anger and sadness.

For the rest of the day, we were glued to the TV as the news showed both towers crashing to the ground and the subsequent panic that ensued as people ran away to escape the cloud of debris that quickly spread throughout the city. But as people were frantically running away from the World Trade Center, another group of people were running toward the disaster. They were the first responders ñ firefighters, police officers, paramedics, doctors, volunteers ñ who selflessly risked and gave their lives to help their fellow Americans during a time of tragedy. As the rescue efforts continued, first responders and volunteers went to New York City from all over the country to help in any way that they could.

As a result of the first responders and volunteersí heroism, many got to live another day. There are countless stories of the selfless bravery that occurred on 9/11, how Americans reacted extraordinarily in order to rescue a complete stranger, a fellow American. In the face of attack, we pulled through with a remarkable spirit of unity and compassion that swept through our country.

As we remember the tragedy that occurred 10 years ago, we should also remember the individuals who put their lives in jeopardy for the sake of their country. We should remember those who died, those who got to live, and those who continue to fight for our freedoms today in places all over the world in the name of liberty and freedom.

And thatís just the way it is.