A Statement on the 21st Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
On this 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we remember the 2,977 Americans lost—in New York City, at the Pentagon, and outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania. On each solemn anniversary, America mourns their loss anew.
Among those killed included 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters, 60 New York City Police Department and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officers, and 125 civilian and uniformed military personnel. In the two decades since, hundreds more have suffered and died from 9/11-related illnesses.
On that beautiful Tuesday morning, ordinary Americans were going about their lives—boarding planes and heading into the office—when evil struck. But Americans responded with extraordinary acts of heroism and an unconquerable spirit. Like FDNY Chief Peter J. Ganci, Jr., a U.S. Army veteran, who refused to leave his command post at the foot of the towers until his men were out of danger. Or Todd Beamer, whose simple yet sacred charge of “Let’s Roll!” will forever inspire us.
The 9/11 attacks ushered in a new era in American history—and a new, long war on terrorism. Today, we also honor and pay tribute to our fellow veterans and men and women in uniform who answered the call of duty when our Nation—and the free world—needed them most. As President George W. Bush said last year, “Nothing that has followed can tarnish or diminish your accomplishments.” For this honorable service, we are grateful.
Out of the darkness of the dust clouds and the depths of the rubble, Americans from all walks of life—regardless of race, color, or creed—re-committed to the defense of liberty. As we honor those we lost, we also must remain vigilant, ready to confront the dangers, old and new, that threaten the American homeland and way of life.