Most of us still remember where we were eight years ago as we heard the incoming news from New York, the Pentagon, and a field in southwest Pennsylvania. The images and the sounds will stay with us forever. Today, in memory of the innocent men, women and children who lost their lives that day, September 11, 2001, and the patriotism of those who sacrificed everything to save countless others from harm, we pause to reflect and honor their memory. On that day, we lost more than 3,000 souls for whom we still mourn, but we also stood united in our common tragedy and showed the world that the people of the United States stand together resolved to defend our freedom and safeguard our liberties.
We take time today to offer a special prayer of remembrance and thanks to the first responders, including firefighters, police, paramedics and other emergency and medical personnel, who offered the ultimate demonstration of bravery and courage in the face of these heinous attacks. Many of these heroes gave their lives on that day and others are forever scarred from what they witnessed that day. With the utmost gratitude and respect, we recognize that they and their families, and the entire nation, were forever changed.
By act of Congress, this day has been designated as both Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. I ask you to join me in saluting the heroes and innocent victims of September 11.
Honor their memory today, and every day, through service to our community and our nation. We will bring to justice those who perpetrated this unspeakable crime, but we also will ensure that the principles and values on which our great nation was founded – equality, justice and compassion – continue to light a path for generations to come.
U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
September 11, 2009