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Transcript of Pelosi Remarks at Congressional Remembrance Ceremony Marking 20 Years Since the Terror Attacks of September 11th

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi participated in a Congressional Remembrance Ceremony marking 20 years since the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  It is my sad and great honor to welcome Members of Congress and the Congressional community to the remembrance observing 20 years since the terror attack of September 11th.  That day, we suffered loss we could not fathom and witnessed heroism we will never forget.

Today and always, Americans are united in grief for those who lost their lives and for their families, and gratitude for the heroes of the day.  May their memories always be a blessing.

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Thank all of you for being here this morning.  I want to especially thank Brian Lozano and the U.S. Army Band Pershing’s Own quartet for leading us with our National Anthem this morning.  I want to thank the members of the leadership – Mr. Schumer, Mr. McConnell, Mr. McCarthy – for their beautiful remarks.  And I thank Steny Hoyer, member of the leadership, for being with us, as well as other Members of Congress from all over the country.


I wanted to share some thoughts with you about this weekend.  Over the weekend, we’ve had some sad observances of what happened that day.  On Friday, we began here with Flight 93, with flight attendants and – and pilots talking about their friends who were on that flight that was destined for the Capitol – supposedly destined for the Capitol – Flight 93.


As I think about everything we heard then, and in New York at Ground Zero at the ceremony on Saturday, ‘three’ is a number that now I want us to remember so that we never forget.  Flight 93 headed for the Capitol – bravery, courage on that flight spared us that tragedy.  In New York, 343 firefighters lost their lives.  I’m not talking about other consequences following.  I’m talking about 343 firefighters lost their lives that day.  31 members of the New York Police Department.  Ninety three.  Three hundred forty three.  Thirty one.  Thirteen of our young people in the last days of Afghanistan.  So, let the number three be a way for you to remember and never forget what happened.


On Saturday, we heard speeches for – presentations were only made by family members, which was beautiful and appropriate.  We had little grandchildren saying, ‘I never met you, Grandpa, but I know you’re a guardian angel up in heaven.’  People filled with faith.  Moms talking about their children, looking like their dads or acting like their dads.  The connection.  The connection is so beautiful, but faith-filled – because praying to them as they remembered them.  Just comrades on the battle – in the battle there, talking about the friends that they lost demonstrated faith in God, faith in each other, faith in America.  It was a very, very – it has been a very unifying time, as it was right from the start with President Bush’s beautiful remarks that day, and this weekend, as well as President Obama.


President Lincoln cautioned against ‘the silent artillery of time’ – the harsh artillery of time eroding our memory.  Today and always, we renew our vow: time shall not dim the memory of our fallen heroes.  We pray that the years might ease the pain of the bereaved, but never the luster of the deeds of the fallen.  


When we visit the memories of September 11th, we tread on sacred ground.  As we all know, twenty years ago on that clear Tuesday morning, America was forever changed by an act of terrorism.  In a moment, nearly 3,000 lives were taken, and the innocence of a generation was lost.  


Yet, at our darkest moment, America showed the world our greatness: in the heroism of the first responders who rushed into danger, in the strength of strangers bonded by the loss, in the courage of a nation that found unity in our agony.  


As Americans across the country marked this solemn day over the weekend, we recommit to our sacred promise to never forget: both what we lost and the unity and strength that we found.


May God bless the families of those who lost their loved ones, those who helped those families, and may God bless America.


Now, I invite all of you to join us in a moment of silence.


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