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On Monday, all across our country, Americans will pause to reflect and remember the fateful, tragic events of September 11, 2001.
The terrorists who attacked the United States on that day, sought not just to take the lives of U.S. citizens, they hoped to break America’s spirit. But they failed. Instead, they quickly learned that America’s fighting men and women are the strongest in the history of the world.
As long as this nation endures, Americans will forever be inspired by the faithful, courageous words and deeds of the heroes from that day.
On this solemn day, we pay a debt of honor and remember the families who lost loved ones when planes struck the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pa. While we pause today to remember the tragic loss of 2,977 innocent lives on 9/11 and the heroes forged that day and in the years since, we also must remain vigilant when confronted by the evil foes that seek to destroy the American way of life and all that we hold dear. While we did not start that war, nor did we seek it, at every turn, our armed forces have taken the fight to the enemy on our terms. What the terrorists of 9/11 did not understand is that Americans’ love of peace is only exceeded by our resolve to defend our freedom.
In the 22 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, much in our nation and world has changed. One thing that has not changed is America’s resolve. We saw this determination, not only from ordinary Americans whose heroism that fateful day inspired the nation, but we also see this in the rising generation of the new millennium who answered the call to protect our nation. Because of their sacrifices, we’ve met the evildoers with a resolve and force beyond any they could have imagined.
The strength and vigor of the American people we witnessed on 9/11 has not waned.
But with distance and time, the severity of what happened on September 11, 2001 may diminish in some minds. We see this in those who desire to lessen America’s place on the world stage. We see this in those who favor appeasement and isolationism.
Isolationism does not make America safer. Isolationism only makes America, and the world, a more dangerous place. If America were to step back from her leadership role on the world stage, it would create a vacuum that China, Russia, and other hostile nations would be more than happy to fill. And those nations would seek to recreate the world in their own image: more totalitarian, more antagonistic, less concerned with human rights, and less free.
Still, there are those who think America should turn inward because they say we can’t be the leader of the free world while also solving our problems at home. Well, I think that’s a pretty small view of the greatest nation on Earth.
I believe in a different course and fate for America because I believe in the greatness of America and our people. The strength and vigor of the American people we witnessed on 9/11 has not waned. And that’s why I will never apologize for believing that our best days are ahead.
So today and every day, we remember our fallen heroes, and we honor them by never forgetting their sacrifices and pledging to prevent such evil from ever reaching our shores again. We must remain steadfast in ensuring that the things they died defending – our citizens, our nation, our values – live on for the next generation.