WASHINGTON — To mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, members of Congress held a ceremony Wednesday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, singing “God Bless America.” Following are comments from some of the members:
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “Twelve years after the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation, the memory and pain of that day is still very fresh. Like many in Hawaii, I remember hearing about the attacks that morning and being deeply moved by stories of first responders who flooded into the burning buildings, families searching frantically for missing relatives and regular people on the street who banded together to help the search and rescue efforts.
“I was reminded of these brave, selfless people when I visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City earlier this summer. Looking at the memorial, it is impossible not to think about those who died in the brutal attacks, the firefighters, EMTs and policemen. In the wake of immense tragedy, our nation came together with unity and aloha, resolving to rebuild and bring our perpetrators to justice. Let us once again come together to remember those who were lost and the emotions that swept through our nation that day.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena): “Today I took part in a Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. As we reflect on that tragic day 12 years ago, we should honor the victims, their families and the bravery of our fellow Americans who ran to help. Their sacrifices for our country must never be forgotten.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “We pause today to recognize those who lost their lives on Sept. 11. Twelve years later, our thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families, and the courageous men and women who sacrificed their lives for others.”
Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose): “On this solemn day we must take time to honor and remember the 3,000 Americans who lost their lives in the terrible attacks 12 years ago. It was a day that tested our country, but also demonstrated the resolve, strength, and hope of the American people.”
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “Today we honor and remember all of those who tragically lost their lives in the terrorist attacks 12 years ago on Sept. 11. We will never forget that day of sorrow, and our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and loved ones who were left behind.
“This anniversary is not only a day of sorrow, however; it is also a time to honor the heroism and selflessness that was on display that fateful day. First responders, unflinching in the face of terror, worked selflessly to save American lives. Ordinary citizens displayed uncommon courage, helping their fellow Americans to safety.
“We honor this heroism by marking 9/11 as both a day of remembrance and a day of service. Millions of Americans across the country have honored this anniversary and the memory of those we lost by recommitting to their communities and giving back. By coming together as a country, we are able to memorialize the victims and heroes of Sept, 11 and ensure that we never forget.”
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Rancho Cordova): “This morning, I participated in a ceremony on the Capitol steps with many of my colleagues to commemorate those we lost 12 years ago today. As we remember that difficult day, let’s not only recall the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, but also the way that Americans came together as a community in the wake of such terrible events. We can honor those we lost that day and the first responders who put their lives on the line by reigniting that sense of unity we all shared.”
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii): “As we pause to remember the devastating events that shook our nation 12 years ago today, I will recall the tremendous bravery and commitment of the men and women who faced the challenge and fought to save those in danger. We must continue to honor those extraordinary Americans we lost in the attacks and in war, including those with ties to our beloved Hawaii, and forever keep them and their families in our hearts.
“We will carry this lesson with us always: This is a day of heroes. Whether they serve on foreign soil or on the next street, America’s finest still sacrifice to protect our homes, communities, and nation. We thank you again, and we pledge that we will never forget.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): “Today marks 12 years since our country experienced a horrific attack on U.S. soil. We remember the many Americans who lost their lives in this attack. We honor the courage of our servicemembers and their families who have sacrificed greatly in the fight against al-Qaeda, and in the service of our nation.
“Like many of my brothers and sisters in uniform, I enlisted in the Army after 9/11, with the resolve that our generation must step up and fight against al-Qaeda and those who threaten the safety of the American people and way of life. I’ve been so proud to serve alongside many humble, courageous service members, in the Middle East, and at home. It is in honor of all those who never got to say goodbye to their families, who were killed on 9/11 or in combat, that we must be resolved to defend our nation against those who wish to harm us.”
Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “We must remember those who lost their lives and sacrificed so much on Sept. 11, 2001. The attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the hijacking of Flight 93 were not only horrifying but also a reminder of the challenges we face as a free nation. We must also remember those who showed enormous resilience and courage. Whether it was the firefighters and police running into the World Trade Center, the heroes of Flight 93 or the American people standing together as one, our response to 9/11 truly reflected the American spirit.
“Today, let us honor the victims of Sept. 11 by recommitting ourselves to the values of freedom, democracy and diversity that make our country great.”