On a clear day 18 years ago, nearly 3,000 Americans died and more than 10,000 were wounded in 9/11 terror attacks, which devastated the nation and shocked the world.
Those who lost their lives that day included mothers, fathers, and children – who left behind their loved ones who mourn them still.
More than 400 firefighters and police officers were also among those who were killed on that fateful day. It was the deadliest terrorist attack the country had ever witnessed, and the most elaborate foreign attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.
As we remember those who lost their lives and their devastated families, it is important to recognize that those attacks of 9/11 were targeted at human beings everywhere who embody peace and goodwill.
Those attacks were designed to kill our indomitable human spirit and shatter our values that we cherish as Americans.
But America emerged stronger that day, and has continued to grow stronger every day since. We continue to uphold the true American values that make life worth living, and we progress undeterred towards our goal of peace and prosperity for the country and the world.
There will always be disagreements and there will always be those who seek to divide us as a nation. But on this momentous occasion, above all, we come together, as one. Our faith in humanity unites us as fellow Americans and as global citizens.
To always stay together as one people is our eternal tribute to those who left us on this “Patriot Day” 18 years ago.
May this occasion inspire us to cherish our freedom more than anything else and reaffirm our respect for human life.
Let us mark this somber occasion with an excerpt from “The Names,” a poem by America’s poet laureate Billy Collins, which he dedicated to those who left us on 9/11.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.