Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. That day will be recorded as one of the most tragic and horrific in the history of our nation. September 11th, 2001 was a day when we once again lost our innocence. On the morning of September 11, 2001, every American woke up to a new kind of terror and a life forever changed. On the fifth anniversary of that dark Tuesday in September, it is important to remember the innocent Americans who lost their lives, the first responders who sacrificed their lives for others, and our men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day for the sake of freedom.

For far too long, we lived in a dream world; unaware of the ruthlessness of those who wished to do us harm. The days and weeks that followed the attack were filled with sorrow and a sense of patriotism not felt since the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The events of September 11th forced us to commit ourselves to our security and the long fight against terrorism.

The Global War on Terror started long before September 11, 2001. Prior to that day, the terrorists were on the offensive around the world, but rarely did it affect our daily lives. But when terror arrived on our doorstep, that role was quickly reversed. This war is unlike any war we have fought. The American people have learned that freedom does not come without cost, hardship and heartbreak. There are setbacks, and there is criticism, but we will continue to be steadfast in our mission until the terrorist insurgents are defeated.

We have made great progress in the last 5 years to protect our way of life. We have captured many key terrorist leaders linked to the September 11th attacks, helped thwart other terror plots both at home and around the world, including the most recent foiled attack in London, and helped liberate more than 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the Global War on Terror is far from over and will be a struggle for years to come. We must never forget the events of that gruesome day and we must stay diligent to never back down in this fight. Today should be a day of hope and healing. It is an opportunity to pay tribute to the men, women, and children who perished on that day, as well as to honor those who continue to keep us safe and lead our global fight against Islamic Jihadists.