On September 11, 2001, I was at the Pentagon meeting with then- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. When the second plane hit the twin towers in New York we were forced to evacuate. As I drove across the 14th Street Bridge from Virginia a plane crashed into the Pentagon.
The attacks brought us all together. We were united in our patriotism. We witnessed the heroism and bravery of our fellow Americans who died proud of their freedom and proud of their nation. We tried to make sense of who did this and why. The individuals and ideology that carried out the attacks were a new threat to our national security and to our liberty.
As we struggled to understand this new threat, Members of Congress started sharing stories, news articles, and other information. To help Members share this information and learn how to understand these new enemies, I helped found the bipartisan Anti-Terrorism Caucus. Sharing expertise, information, and knowledge through organizations like the Anti-Terrorism Caucus enabled Congress to respond to the terror attacks.
While the threats have only increased over the last decade, we continue to do everything we can to make sure we prevent the deaths of more innocent Americans and make sure our military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have the resources they need to combat global terrorism.
Today is a time for reflection and remembrance. It is not only a time to honor those who lost their lives ten years ago, but a chance to pay tribute to the law enforcement officials, service members, and everyday civilians who rescued survivors and continue to protect all of us at home and abroad. Please join me in saying “thank you” to everyone in our nation who fights to keep us safe and free.