September 16, 2009

9-11 Memorial Speech

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I know that for all of us here today – and in fact, for all Americans – September 11, 2001 forever changed our world.

Just as December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day – defined a generation, September 11 has indelibly shaped who we are, how we live our daily lives and what we believe in.

But unlike Pearl Harbor, in which one nation attacked a military installation, this time an organization of terrorists, not operating under the flag of any one nation, attacked thousands of unsuspecting innocent men and women.

Our sons and daughters; grandsons and granddaughters; husbands and wives; co-workers and friends – who were doing nothing out of the ordinary for a typical Tuesday morning.

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Bankers and brokers. Analysts and administrative assistants. Technicians. Designers. Some just starting out in the workplace; some at the apex of their careers.

Pilots and flight attendants. Vacationers, business travelers and those flying across the country to see friends and family.

And police officers and firefighters, who took an oath to protect and serve the hard-working public no matter how horrific the circumstances.

All of these individuals we remember here today committed no offense against another nation.

They held no ill will towards others. They did not subscribe to dogmatic principles centered around the destruction of those different from them. They were merely going about their daily routine – working hard to provide for their families and to build the life they dreamed of.

I believe that what shocked us the most that morning was not the unthinkably diabolical method used to attack us. Or the scope and magnitude of the attacks.

But that -- it was our way of life that was attacked.

Our way of life that embraces freedom and democracy.

Our way of life that rewards hard work and perseverance, and yet encourages selflessness and generosity.

Our way of life that recognizes and respects varying opinions in society, and still preserves the rights of all to express those opinions.

Our way of life that allows us to worship freely and to look differently.

The United States of America remains one of the most desirable places on this planet to live; not for our oceans and plains, not for our mountains and rivers, not for our cars and homes and technology. But for our freedom.

The attacks on the morning of September 11 provided us with an ugly, painful reminder of the hatred and evil -- the rage and resentment -- which resides in the hearts of some.

In the days after September 11, we were left to console the inconsolable.

In the weeks after September 11, we tried to explain the unexplainable.

In the months after September 11, we tried to make sense out of the senseless.

And even today, eight years after September 11, we strive to find hope in the moments of hopelessness that still haunt us.

Shakespeare said that "Everyone can master grief, but he that has it."

None of us can prescribe to you how long or how deep your grieving process will take. None of us can prescribe to you how to heal your hearts. When we gather here next year, and the year after that, and five years after that, and ten years after that, nobody can promise that you will hurt a little less. Nobody can promise you there will ever be a time when you do not feel the emptiness.

No words, no ceremony, no plaques or stones -- no amount of tears -- will ever replace your losses. And this memorial cannot replace your losses.

But what this memorial can do is to provide you – whether you lost a husband, wife, parent, child, grandchild, brother, sister or friend -- with a solemn place to remember and mourn, to reflect and to move on, each in our own way.

And let this memorial provide all of us here in Suffolk with a daily reminder to take nothing for granted. Appreciate our freedoms. Count our blessings. Strive to help our fellow man. And cherish our friends and families.

And let this memorial serve as a reminder of the American spirit which burns in all of us – that way of life which makes this the greatest nation on Earth.

Our American spirit is defined by our innate ability to reach out and help others, even in times of unthinkable crisis and unfathomable odds.

Just think about the courage of our policemen and firefighters who rushed into two burning towers to bring thousands to safety.

Or the courage of Flight 93 passengers, who resolved to save the lives of perhaps hundreds of other innocent victims on the ground by storming the cabin of their plane.

Our American spirit is defined by our ability to move forward in the aftermath of overwhelming loss, even when it seems easier to quit.

Just think about the countless hours devoted to recovery operations at the World Trade Center and Pentagon sites.

Or the way our Island, our city and our nation resolved to carry on even with a heavy heart – by returning to work and remaining true to our principles of freedom and democracy.

Our American spirit is defined by our ability to rebuild -- stronger and more united in purpose – and our brief history as a nation on this Earth is testimony to that.

From flood and famine; from economic depression and civil unrest; from wars home and abroad; and from these unthinkable, man-made acts of terror – we Americans are steeled by our legacy of determination and resolve.

For the most fitting memorial we can truly leave to the 178 innocent lives lost from our County on September 11 is not etched here in glass today, but etched in our hearts and in our souls as we continue to move forward in the pursuit of happiness, and defense of liberty for all.

Thank you and God Bless America.

  1. print email
    Planting Memorial peace trees for the 9/11 victims in Nigeria
    April 04, 2013 | 03:53 PM

    As i read this i am crying and my heart is bleeding

    Festus onogholo
  2. print email
    09-11-01 memory
    September 24, 2013 | 01:42 PM

    I really enjoyed this speech it's very helpful for the ones who lost their love ones it helped to see their pain my great-grandmother wasn't killed of that she had cancer and died in May 2010 it was very hurtful and it hurted my when other great- grandmother who died in August 2013 It hurted me bad but I am still strong and let me tell u something... every time 9-11 come don't cry go see your family and talk to them... I enjoyed this speech...I hope someone who lost their loved one see this... Bye...love y'all... Remember keep your heads up high

    Demyiah Brown
  3. print email
    August 05, 2015 | 11:56 PM

    I would like to read my speech at the memorial of911.

    shirley middleton
  4. print email
    September 04, 2015 | 02:37 PM

    I am the Fire Chief in Michigan City Indiana. Can I use part of your speech on 9/11 when I address the local Community Collage? It is very moving and I will give you credit for writing it.
    Randy Novak
    Fire Chief
    Michigan City Fire
    219-898-1460 cell

    Randy Novak
  5. print email
    October 06, 2015 | 08:39 AM

    i really like this speech

    shamar harris
  6. print email
    June 23, 2016 | 08:52 AM

    Is this speech copy written?

    Agustin P. Govin
  7. print email
    Use some of your speech
    August 11, 2016 | 11:59 AM

    Presently I am the Commander of our Amvets Post and I would like to use and reference this speech if I may. Thank You

    Charles D. Dunkle
  8. print email
    Permission to use your speecch
    August 26, 2016 | 02:10 PM

    May I have your permission to use your speech at a 9-11 ceremony dedicating a painted "Freedom Rock" and honoring the men & women serving our country?


    Mitchell Arney
  9. print email
    911 memorial
    August 29, 2016 | 06:21 PM

    Can I use part of your speech as a quote in my paper? I will give you credit for your work, because this Speech is very powerful!

    Mariah Wellhausen
  10. print email
    9-11 Memorial Speech
    September 02, 2016 | 05:44 PM

    Sir: May I use this speech as part of our 15th Anniversary of the 9-11 Tragedy. It is quite moving, and I would be honored and humbled if I may use it. It goes without saying, I would give you the credit for crafting such a superb powerful piece of literature commemorating American history.

    Respectfully requested,

    Larry Parrish-Chaplin-MBA
    American Legion- Post 58
    Smithfield, MO.

    Larry Parrish-Chaplin, MBA
  11. print email
    Requesting Permission to Use Your Speech
    September 07, 2016 | 02:49 PM

    I, too, am deeply moved by your speech and respectfully request permission to quote and credit you as part of a First Responders Appreciation Event we are planning here at our dealership. We are honored to welcome special guest Timothy Duffy FDNY (Ret) who rode his Harley right into the midst of hell.

    Debra Brittingham
    Marketing & Communications Manager
    Keystone Harley-Davidson®
    Parryville, PA

  12. print email
    September 09, 2016 | 09:29 AM

    May I use part of this speech for a 9/11 remembrance? I will give full credit to the writer. It is very powerful and moving, thank you for writing it.

    Derek Vandervort
  13. print email
    use of speech
    September 09, 2016 | 09:09 PM

    I was very moved by this speech. May I use it for ceremony we have coming up? very powerful. thank you

  14. print email
    Use of speech
    September 10, 2016 | 12:16 PM

    I would like to use part of this speech for a 9-11 remembrance? I will give full credit to the writer. It is an excellent speech.

  15. print email
    May I use your speech?
    September 10, 2016 | 11:01 PM

    I am a sailor in the United States Navy, Selected as a Chief Petty Officer. With your permission I would like to use part of your speech as a 9/11 remembrance while observing colors onboard the battleship in Pearl Harbor, HI USS Missouri. I will give you full credit. Thank you.


    Derrick Schoo
  16. print email
    Memorial speech
    June 15, 2017 | 02:25 PM

    I am a service member in the United States Navy, I am coordinating the 9/11 ceremony event, with your permission I would like to use part of your speech as a 9/11 remembrance while observing colors onboard NAVSTA Everett. Thank you.


  17. print email
    August 30, 2017 | 12:40 PM

    Can I read your speech at our program to our honor the fallen we with our towns first responder.

    Glenda Bailey
  18. print email
    9/11 Anniversary Memorial 2017
    August 30, 2017 | 10:19 PM

    My daughter Kathryn L. (Yancey) Laborie was the Head Flight Attendant aboard United Flt 175 in 1ST class. She fought to keep the terrorists from gaining access to the Flt deck..But She was no match for the actions of those hijackers.Your very Moving words would greatly improve a speech that I must give this 9/11 at Her HS, (Mitchell HS) The Mitchell ROTC CADETS have Produced a Military Tribute to Kathy and all the other victims every year since 2001. floandgene@comcast.net Please let us know if we could use some of your wonderful copy with credit to you. Sincerely, H. Gene Yancey, Father

    Harlan G. Yancey
  19. print email
    911 memorial speech
    September 05, 2017 | 01:10 PM

    Your speech is very moving, I would like to use parts of your speech for our 911 memorial service to our county fire departments to be held this Saturday 9/9/2017

    Kirk Todd
  20. print email
    911 SPEECH
    September 07, 2017 | 03:59 PM


  21. print email
    9/11 Memorial Speech
    September 10, 2017 | 08:33 PM

    That was a tremendous speech. Thank you. I would like to be able to use it at our memorial if possible, all credit to you.


    CDR, Am.Legion POST 121
    Council Grove KS

    Rebecca Elias
  22. print email
    thank you
    September 22, 2017 | 04:00 PM

    Thank You.

    bob welsh
  23. print email
    9/11 memorial speech
    October 26, 2017 | 11:11 AM


    Nic ginnavin
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