Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
I remember Tuesday, September 11, very, very clearly. Senator Daschle held his Tuesday morning leadership meeting and I was the first Senator in that room. John Breaux of Louisiana came in a short time later and he said something is going on in New York, flip on the TV, and we did. There was a tower burning. How could an airplane run into that tower?
Senator Daschle called the meeting to order. Just a short time after the meeting started somebody came in and took him out. He came back and said we have to vacate the building, there is an airplane headed toward the Capitol. We all hurriedly left. I remember that day so very, very clearly.
As we left, we could look out the window and see the smoke billowing out of the Pentagon. It was a very difficult day for all of us. Yesterday, we observed the tenth anniversary of those attacks, but the truth is I remember that day as if it were only yesterday.
That day, Osama bin Laden and his radical followers didn’t just launch an attack on planes or buildings. They launched an attack on the American spirit. They launched an attack on our freedom and democracy.
But rather than being crippled by the terrible acts of a group of madmen – rather than allowing the uncertainty and fear to rule us – this nation rose again, stronger than ever. And we did it by coming together.
The darkness of that day reminded us of our collective strength and power. It reminded us that there is nothing we cannot achieve together as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
So we pledged to bring justice to the perpetrators of those terrible attacks. And we have followed through on that pledge with an unfaltering campaign to dismantle al Qaeda and its supporters. This year our brave servicemen finally gave Osama bin Laden his due.
We also pledged to rebuild. I am glad to see the proud towers of the new World Trade Center rising from the ashes at Ground Zero.
That doesn’t mean the memory of that day is not still painful, especially to those who lost loved ones. Nothing can ever make up for the loss of a mother or father, a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a friend or a spouse who was just catching a plane or going to work on that horrific day.
They are the reason we will never, ever forget.
So today, as yesterday, I honor the memory of the thousands of innocent people who died at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and on hijacked planes in New York and Pennsylvania and Virginia.
I honor the memory of the firefighters, who knew the danger they faced when they entered those buildings, but went in anyway.
I honor the police and rescue workers who rushed to the scene, and combed through the debris, some of whom died that day.
I honor the many dedicated members of our armed forces, our State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and our intelligence community who have sacrificed their lives to keep us safe and to keep September 11th from ever happening again.
And I honor America’s spirit of perseverance and commitment to freedom. May we never forget.