Ten years ago on September 11th, 2001, we witnessed one of the darkest days in our State and Nation’s history. It was a day that forever changed the way we look at the world.
Like many tragic events of the past – Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle, the bombing in Oklahoma City – every one of us will always remember where we were during the most horrific terrorist attack ever carried out on American soil. In the days following September 11th, I vividly remember meeting and consoling the families of those who lost husbands and wives, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and friends and coworkers, as they mourned the loss of their loved ones. It was a day that made us reflect on what we take for granted in America. It made us hold our families closer. It made us appreciate the sacrifices that so many have made and continue to make for the sake of our freedom.
As we approach the ten-year anniversary of September 11th, we pause to reflect on how our world was changed by that tragedy, and its lasting impact over the last decade. As we solemnly honor the memory of those who lost their lives, we can also look back with pride on the sacrifices, commitment and dedication of the thousands of Americans who answered the call to duty in the wake of such an enormous tragedy.
America’s strength was shown in the heroic actions of the firefighters, police officers, emergency medical personnel and rescue workers who risked their lives to help the victims.
America’s strength was shown in the compassion of the thousands of people who waited in line in communities all across the country to donate blood for their fellow citizens, and the millions of Americans who gave their hard-earned money to help the victims’ families.
America’s strength was shown in the pride of hundreds of volunteers from our region who traveled to New York City to assist in the relief efforts.
Most of all, America’s strength was shown in the bravery of the men and women of the military, who continue to sacrifice so much every day to defend our freedom and our Nation. Their challenges were always great and their response always greater. The millions of Americans who sleep safely at night have these individuals to thank for defending our liberty. As we remember our heroes, those past and present, let's also make it a point to reach out and thank those who continue to serve our Nation at home and around the world.
I’ve often said that a person is a hero not for what they do, but for what they would do. And I know there is nothing that our service men and women, our firemen, police officers or our emergency rescue personnel would not do to protect their community or serve their Country.
We will never forget what happened ten years ago on September 11th, nor should we. It is memory that keeps the spirit of those we lost alive and continues to remind us to never take a single thing for granted, especially our freedom and those who defend it. It is memory that continues to inspire and remind us how important it is to ensure that future generations are able to grow up in a land of peace, liberty and opportunity.
Our world changed on September 11th, but New Yorkers and Americans have shown that our resolve will never be compromised.
God bless New York State and God bless America.