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We pause today to remember a day in American history that will be etched in our memories for the balance of our days. I am sure each of you can recall where you were thirteen years ago when you first learned of the attacks on American soil and the following days of turmoil. For those who watched this from the safe distance of our televisions to those that were at ground zero the impact was felt throughout our nation.

That day reminded us of who we are as a people, and that the freedoms we enjoy are gifts we have inherited - and are obligated to defend. We saw that day bring forth great heroes, those that were willing to exchange their lives for the life of another as they worked tirelessly to rescue and care for the wounded. That event also welcomed the introduction of a new generation of national pride and those willing to enlist in the defense of our freedoms. September 11, 2001 is a hallowed reminder that the country we love is ours and ours alone to care for.

Today we grieve with those who lost loved ones in the tragedy, and we grieve with the family of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the protection of our nation. Today we celebrate the honor and pride that we carry as citizens of the greatest country on earth, and we extend a heartfelt thanks to those at home and abroad who are ever watchful for the protection of our people.

May God bless you and may God bless America.
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