In September 11th Remembrance, Menendez Speaks On Senate Floor Of The Obligation To Never Forget

In September 11th Remembrance, Menendez Speaks On Senate Floor Of The Obligation To Never Forget

Senator Menendez's remarks recall those who perished, honor the heroism on display and reinforce the need to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 attacks

Washington - Today marks the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) took to the Senate floor this morning to speak about the importance of never forgetting those who were lost that day - including nearly 700 New Jerseyans - as well as the heroism that was on display, those who are still suffering and the security challenges that still exist.

Excerpts from Sen. Menendez's remarks:

"That day, the families and friends of nearly 3,000 Americans got the worst news imaginable. Almost 700 were from my home state of New Jersey. They were from all walks of life. We lost mothers, fathers and children; brothers lost their sisters; neighbors lost their friends.

"Today in New Jersey, you can go from town to town-from Englewood to West Windsor, Toms River, Mantua and Cape May-and you can see a ceremony in each one. Families in those towns are laying flowers on gravestones and monuments, and holding tightly one more time onto pictures of the ones they lost. So many communities were affected in so many different ways."

.....

"There was a time when the events of September 11, 2001 gripped us so strongly that our minds couldn't focus on anything else.

"Yet, seven years later, we have to talk about the dangers of forgetting.

"We have to talk about the dangers of forgetting, because seven years later, our obligations have not gone away.

"Our obligations have not gone away to those we lost their friends and families, and to those who survived the attacks and came away injured. For them, it's been a long and heroic struggle to get by and find some sense of 'normal.' People who ran out of burning buildings, and the firefighters, EMTs and other rescue workers who ran in, all breathed thick air as they were saving lives, and today they're reminded of what they had to face with literally every breath they take.

"We think about them very deeply today, but those heroes triumph every day. Their supply of courage has never run out.

"And we can never walk out on them.

"So 'not forgetting' means remembering those we lost and their friends and families. It means caring for those who were made ill because of the attacks. Not forgetting means supporting all the heroes, paid and volunteer, who risked their lives to save others. Not forgetting means securing our ports, chemical and nuclear plants so we don't have to experience another horrendous tragedy in the future; getting federal grant money to our communities based on the risks they face, getting firefighters the funding they need for new equipment and increased personnel, making sure our first responders can talk to each other during an emergency.

"And let us be very clear: not forgetting means destroying the terrorist network that planned the attacks and bringing those responsible to justice."

Full text of his remarks are below:

M. President,
I rise today to commemorate those we lost on September 11th, 2001, to remember how our nation responded to the pain we felt that day with a towering display of heroism, and to urge us to rededicate ourselves to making sure we never have to experience terror on our soil again.

That day, the families and friends of nearly 3,000 Americans got the worst news imaginable. Almost 700 were from my home state of New Jersey.
They were from all walks of life. We lost mothers, fathers and children; brothers lost their sisters; neighbors lost their friends.

Today in New Jersey, you can go from town to town-from Englewood to West Windsor, Toms River, Mantua and Cape May-and you can see a ceremony in each one. Families in those towns are laying flowers on gravestones and monuments, and holding tightly one more time onto pictures of the ones they lost. So many communities were affected in so many different ways.

Not the least of which was the American community. It felt like a day when there were no borders between us. Terrorists tried to engulf us in the smoke of fear and hatred, and for a moment, we felt like the whole world went dark.

But the light of heroism burst through. Individuals rushed into burning buildings risking their lives to save others, strangers opened their homes to help people they didn't even know, men and women all over the country rushed to give whatever they could to help those in need.

It was a day when we learned the meaning of Oscar Wilde's words, that "where there is sorrow, there is holy ground." It was a day when it didn't matter what part of the country you came from, what your family background was, or anything else. It was a day when we all stood together as Americans. And people from all over the world said, we're all Americans today.

There was a time when the events of September 11, 2001 gripped us so strongly that our minds couldn't focus on anything else.

Yet, seven years later, we have to talk about the dangers of forgetting.

We have to talk about the dangers of forgetting, because seven years later, our obligations have not gone away.

Our obligations have not gone away to those we lost their friends and families, and to those who survived the attacks and came away injured. For them, it's been a long and heroic struggle to get by and find some sense of "normal." People who ran out of burning buildings, and the firefighters, EMTs and other rescue workers who ran in, all breathed thick air as they were saving lives, and today they're reminded of what they had to face with literally every breath they take.

We think about them very deeply today, but those heroes triumph every day. Their supply of courage has never run out.

And we can never walk out on them.

So "not forgetting" means remembering those we lost and their friends and families. It means caring for those who were made ill because of the attacks. Not forgetting means supporting all the heroes, paid and volunteer, who risked their lives to save others.
Not forgetting means securing our ports, chemical and nuclear plants so we don't have to experience another horrendous tragedy in the future; getting federal grant money to our communities based on the risks they face, getting firefighters the funding they need for new equipment and increased personnel, making sure our first responders can talk to each other during an emergency.

And let us be very clear: not forgetting means destroying the terrorist network that planned the attacks and bringing those responsible to justice.

Today, September 11th, 2008, we remember what's been lost, and we find strength in what we still have. No amount of time can ultimately heal what was seared into our hearts and minds on September 11th, 2001. But those wounds continue to drive us to make sure no New Jerseyan, no American, ever has to experience them again.

If we come together now, as we did on one of the darkest days in our nation's history, then I believe our future can be filled with security, prosperity and hope-and I'm convinced that our brightest days are yet to come.

Once again, my thoughts and prayers for the 700 New Jerseyans who were lost on that fateful day and for their families who live with this for the rest of their lives and for whom this day has an incredible resonance in their lives, far beyond what anyone can imagine. But for votes here in the Senate I would be in New Jersey today and I wanted to take to the floor to let them know we are one with them on this most sacred day.

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