Eight years later, America remembers and honors those lost on September 11th (Rep. Bill Shuster)

Eight years ago today, America witnessed an atrocity of immense proportions. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were murdered by terrorists who espouse a corrupt ideology of hate and intolerance.  The September 11th attacks shook America and the world to its core, but we persevered.  We regrouped, mourned our losses and took action to right the wrongs that were perpetrated against us.

Today is a day of remembrance.  Eight years on, we cannot allow ourselves to forget the sacrifices borne by police, firefighters and regular citizens that September morning and the immeasurable acts of heroism to rescue those in need at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

 Nor can we forget the forty brave Americans who sacrificed their own lives to prevent another catastrophic attack against what we believe today to have been Flight 93’s target; the U.S. Capitol.  I was in the Capitol that morning, along with hundreds of my colleagues and tourists.  We would have been in mortal danger if not for the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

 The actions of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 hit home for me and many of my constituents.  The flight crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania which is part of my home district.  For eight years, I along with my fellow members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation and the families of Flight 93 have been working hard to complete the permanent memorial to the heroes of Flight 93 in Shanksville.  I am pleased to say that the memorial is moving forward with a completion date targeted for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.  

 We have not had an attack on U.S. soil since our troops took the fight to al-Qaeda.  This is due to the efforts of our military, intelligence services and first responders to safeguard our nation.  They have succeeded in making America safer, but we cannot take this safety for granted. We have come a long way since the pre-9/11 security mindset but our enemy is not static. The threats we face are ever-changing and the terrorists will adapt to our methods and strategies.

 Our enemy continues to plan and wait for an opening to strike.  Congress must continue to understand that the threat of terrorism remains real and we must be prepared to fund and support those agencies integral to our security.