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Sept. 11: Reflecting on a dark day

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Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Parker School students gathered Monday, Sept. 12 to share a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11 and their families. They planted a tree that will serve as a reminder of the event and a symbol of hope for the future. (Photo courtesy of Parker School)

From President Obama:

Good morning,

On the 10th anniversary of the horrific attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we mourn the innocent lives lost, honor the heroic first responders who rushed to the scene, and pay tribute to our troops and military families who have served over the past 10 years to keep us safe and strong.

But, I also hope you’ll remember how the worst terrorist attack in American history brought out the best in the American people. From giving blood, volunteering time, and donating clothing, food and money, in the weeks and months after the attacks, we were united as a nation, everyone doing their part to lend a hand and help the country move forward together.

With just a small act of service, or a simple act of kindness toward others, you can both honor those we lost and those who serve us still, and help us recapture the spirit of generosity and compassion that followed 9/11.

Sept. 11 has been designated as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Americans across the country will come together to honor the victims of 9/11 and to reaffirm the strength of our nation with acts of service and charity. In Minneapolis, volunteers will help restore a community center, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, members of the community are building new homes for deserving families, and once again, Michelle and I will be joining a local service project as well.

A decade ago, our fellow citizens and first responders rushed up stairwells, into flames, and into that cockpit and gave their lives to save others. In the decade since, a new generation — our military personnel, intelligence officers, and law enforcement — has stepped forward to serve our country and keep us safe.

This weekend, I encourage all Americans to remember not only the innocent lives we lost on that day, but to remember the ordinary goodness and patriotism of the American people and the spirit of unity that brought us together during the days and weeks after the attacks of Sept. 11.

Sincerely,
President Barack Obama

From Sen. Daniel Akaka:

I join all Americans and those across the world in mourning the loss of those who died ten years ago today. On this occasion, it is fitting that we remember the thousands of Americans – our brothers, daughters, husbands, mothers, relatives, and friends – that lost their lives as a result of the unthinkable attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia, as well as flight 93, heroically diverted by the passengers, downed in a field in Pennsylvania.

The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, have changed the lives of every American, and affected billions more around the world, forever.

It is hard to believe that a full decade has already passed since the attacks, because the memories are still so vivid. We will always remember what we were doing and where we were when the people of our country, and the principles we live by, were attacked.

We continue to mourn those who lost their lives that day; innocent victims and first responders. We honor the service of all the men and women fighting to protect the lives and liberties of Americans from those who wish us harm.

We honor the countless acts of heroism that day – the selflessness and courage of the first responders who ran into burning buildings and through unstable passageways, throughout the day and night, to save lives. The 9/11 heroes who simply did what needed to be done. Some risked their lives to help coworkers to safety. Others rescued complete strangers.

If there is a positive to be taken out of this tragedy, it is the spirit of unity and brotherhood seen in our nation’s response to the attacks. Responders from every state, including Hawaii, came together to aid their fellow Americans at their time of need.

It was that same spirit we demonstrated nearly 70 years ago on Dec. 7, 1941, and the same our forefathers used to found this country over two centuries ago.

Our country is a different place than it was ten years ago. It is a place more mindful of the threats around us, but it is a safer place because Americans have been willing to work together. As we mark this solemn anniversary, let us remember what makes this country great, that when we are united there is no challenge we can’t conquer, and no problem we can’t solve. May God bless America.

From Congresswoman Mazie Hirono:

Aloha,

Ten years after the horrific attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the sorrow remains for the thousands of families and friends who lost loved ones in New York City, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Our thoughts are with them, especially the families of Georgine Rose Corrigan and Christine Snyder, Hawaii residents lost on United Airlines Flight 93, and Patricia Colodner, Maile Hale, Heather Ho, and Richard Y.C. Lee, who died in the attack on the World Trade Center.

We also honor and remember the service and sacrifice of the first responders, law enforcement personnel, volunteers and others who provided aid to the victims at personal risk to themselves.

The tragedy of 9/11 has also come to be known as a moment of great heroism that unified our nation. Waianae High graduate Isaac Hoopii was one such hero. A Pentagon police officer, Hoopii carried the injured and guided people trapped by the smoke in the attack on the Pentagon. Here in Hawaii, we rallied with donations of goods, services and funds to help New York City recover.

Veterans and service members, many of whom were only in grade school on Sept. 11, bravely served and protected our country in the fight against terrorism. They deserve our continuing gratitude and respect. Thanks to these women and men, Americans are safer today.

With our primary mission in Afghanistan achieved, both military commanders and President Obama have advocated a safe withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq – action I have long supported.

While our lives changed forever ten years ago, on this and every Sept. 11, let us recapture the spirit of unity and aloha to stand together to build a stronger country. We remember, we grieve, and we shall never forget.

Mazie K. Hirono
Member of Congress
2nd District of Hawaii

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