Capitol Hill marks Sept. 11 anniversary

Capitol Hill lawmakers are marking the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Some of their remarks are excerpted below.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

Every year on September 11, our nation stops to remember the thousands who perished on that fateful morning nine years ago.  This day provides us an opportunity to grieve and to reconnect to the spirit of unity Americans felt in the days after that horrendous terrorist attack. 

This day, and every day, we recommit to our first responsibility as elected officials: to protect the American people.  And we rededicate ourselves to the values that make our country great: freedom, equality, and opportunity. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Terrorists attacked America and all that our nation represents. Today is a day of sadness. But it is also a day to be inspired by the overwhelming goodness of America. When we remember September 11, we remember the innocent victims of the attacks, as well as the heroism of the police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel and first responders.

We remember the bravery of our armed forces who continue to defend and protect us—especially those who sacrificed their lives in this mission. And we remember those who stand ready, both here at home and around the world. Because this war on terror goes on. And today on September 11, we are confident in the strength and goodness of our cause and our country.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

I will always remember the images of courageous first responders rushing into burning buildings, facing almost certain death to save their fellow Americans, and working tirelessly to rescue survivors and clean up the damage in the weeks and months that followed. And we were all touched by the stories of every day Americans on the planes that were attacked who stared evil in the face to spare countless lives. The patriotism demonstrated in every corner of this nation reinforced our belief that love of country knows no political affiliation -- we are all Americans first and foremost. And today, we stand on the shoulders of these American heroes. 

Those who attacked us in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania that day thought they could strike permanent fear in the heart of our nation.  They were wrong.  We will defeat them and will continue to defend our freedom, our values, and our country.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio)

Over the last year, we have seen in the most immediate way how terrorists still have innocent Americans in their sights, starting with a plot to blow up the New York City subway system, and continuing with the attacks at Fort Hood, Times Square, and on board Northwest Flight 253.  Each of these attacks represented new strands of terrorism, new signs of an enemy ready and willing to adapt. Now more than ever, as citizens and patriots, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to confront and defeat the terrorist threat.  That is why we should also take a moment today to salute the endurance, discipline, and valor of our troops, who have volunteered to take the fight to the enemy and keep the light of freedom burning bright.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

We rededicate ourselves to the struggle against terrorism and violent extremism, which is the struggle of all open societies. And we remember that the values that make America hated in the extremist mind – among which are equality, freedom of speech and conscience, and religious tolerance – are also the key to American greatness. Those values, provided that we honor them in our lives and our conduct, remain invulnerable to even the most devastating violence.

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