Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

Part One

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Madam Speaker, this resolution marks the ninth anniversary of the unprovoked attack on our Nation by individuals without conscience and on behalf of masters without mercy.

Those who witnessed the events of September 11 will always remember the inconceivable images and seemingly impossible events that unfolded before our own eyes. But however painful our own memories may be, they cannot compare with the suffering of the innocents who bore the horror directly, nor with those of their families and friends whose lives were torn apart without any warning.

Our purpose here is to honor and remember the victims and the many heroes of that endless day, September 11, 2001. We honor the thousands of innocent men, women and children who were targeted and murdered simply because they were Americans or because they embraced the concept of freedom and democracy. We honor those who, instead of being immobilized by fear, immediately began to search for and rescue survivors at great risk to themselves, many of whom lost their lives in their efforts to save many others.

We honor those in our military who have fought our enemies in distant lands and have borne heavy burdens to prevent them from striking us yet again. And even as I speak, men and women of our Armed Forces are fighting for us and for our country far from their homes in far-off lands. And it has affected many people, even here in Washington, D.C. and in the Congress and our staff. My own chief of staff has two sons that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Marine Corps, and there are many others as we speak today.

On September 11, we were forced to realize that what we had experienced was not really an isolated blow but instead only the latest assault in a war that radical Islamist militants had been waging against the United States for years.

We had already suffered many casualties over the preceding decades, but had not understood that these were in fact from a series of battles in an escalating war against the United States and a war against freedom. These include the taking of our embassy in Iran and the holding of American hostages for 444 days, the destruction of our embassy and marine barracks in Lebanon in the 1980s, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the attacks on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, and the attacks on the U.S.S. Cole and our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania also in the 1990s.

And at this very moment, our enemies are preparing to strike us again and with the same intent of slaughtering as many innocent people as they possibly can.

We cannot protect ourselves by hoping that somehow we will be spared new attacks, for these are certain to come unless we take action to prevent them. And we have done so.

Over the past 9 years, we have come to know our enemies, their plans, and their methods.

We are daily engaged and seeking them out, finding them in their hiding places and in their holes, uncovering their networks and eliminating their ability to harm us again. But our enemies have many allies and have sunk deep roots, roots that will not be easily destroyed. Victory will not be achieved in one decisive battle but through a sustained commitment that will stretch over many years. It will be fought in many different ways using the range of U.S. resources and capabilities and fought in many other places.

Some may shrink from that prospect, but if we are to prevail over this enemy that is relentless in its hatred f