Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry Remembers Sept. 11

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thursday, September 11, 2003  •  Speech

Good morning.  We gather on this day, two years since our nation was attacked, in a spirit of remembrance.  Each of us remembers where we were when we first heard the news.  We remember vividly the images of destruction, the smoke and the fire, the towers crumbling, the Pentagon in flames, a Pennsylvania field littered with the wreckage of a downed plane.  And we remember how we felt that day, the feelings of disbelief, outrage, and helplessness, as men and women trapped in burning buildings were without an escape route, without hope.  Today we mourn for the victims of this tragedy, not just the thousands who never made it out, but the many loved ones they left behind, parents and siblings, friends and co-workers, spouses and children, all who must face each day with only a memory of the person they knew and loved. 

We also pause to remember the heroes of September 11th. September 11th was a day of great tragedy, but it was also a day of great heroism.  In the face of unspeakable inhumanity, everyday Americans responded with uncommon courage.  Such acts of bravery confirmed that while the terrorists could deliver a crushing blow to this nation, they could not dent the character of our people.  We saw firefighters, police officers and emergency personnel who never considered the cost to themselves as they ran into burning buildings.  We heard about airline passengers who took fate in their own hands to save the lives of Americans they would never know.  And we learned of men and women trapped on the highest floors of the twin towers who called family and friends to comfort them, and tell them how much they love them.  “It will be okay,” they said, “don’t worry about me.”  Such bravery should never be forgotten.  Future generations must hear about what happened that day.

It will teach them about what is best about America, that we come to the rescue of fellow citizens in need, that we answer evil with acts of decency, love and compassion, and that we stand for freedom at any cost.  Today we dedicate a new monument in remembrance of September 11th, honoring the Texans who perished that day, and those who were subsequently killed in the War on Terror.  The mangled steel beams, removed from the rubble of Ground Zero, remind us of the power of evil, how those motivated by hatred could bring down our nation’s tallest structures, killing thousands of innocent men and women trapped within.  And the monument walls tell us the exact minute the towers and Pentagon were struck, when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, and when the President spoke to our nation from the target the terrorists missed: our nation’s White House.  All who view the September 11th Monument will understand the enormity of what occurred that day, and the price so many paid for pursuing the American Dream, and protecting that Dream on the field of battle.

To all who suffered loss that day, and in the war against terror, we offer our deepest sympathy.  You are not alone.  We think of you every day.  We may never fully understand why this happened, why such hatred burns in the hearts of our enemies, why your loved one was taken while others survived.  But this we do vow: that they who died at the hands of our terrorist enemies will not have died in vain. 

That is why today we must do more than dedicate a monument, we must dedicate our hearts and minds to the cause that continues on, the cause of freedom.  We must maintain our resolve and our purpose to rid this world of the terrorist element.  We must not waver, we must not retreat, we must remain strong, in honor of those who died that day, and on behalf of generations to come.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Gov. Rick Perry joins several members of the Texas School for the Deaf signing choir at the September 11th memorial. The memorial honors Texans who were killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and in the military action in Afghanistan that followed.
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