I have a story about where I was on September 11th. I had enlisted in the Army just one year prior, and as I watched the news, I knew immediately what this meant for myself and my brothers and sisters in arms: that we would be called upon to execute a reckoning on behalf of our country.
Millions of Americans have a story of September 11th. But now, there is an entire generation of Americans who were just infants in 2001, and it is our responsibility to share the stories and the lessons of the day that changed the course of history. That is what it means to “never forget.”
The evil that took 2,977 innocent lives showed us the worst of humanity. It showed uyous that our freedom can never be taken for granted, that it is something that must be protected every day.
Yet, those same moments showed us that there are always Americans who are willing to do just that, to step up and defend our freedom. First responders ran towards the burning buildings, office workers helped to evacuate hundreds of their coworkers from the World Trade Center, and passengers stormed the cockpit of Flight 93. Ordinary Americans, who had woken up that morning with no plans other than to go to work or catch a flight, displayed incredible courage.
That is the lesson that must be seared into our national conscience: that there were thousands of people who fought back against evil, defended our freedom, and gave their lives for their fellow Americans - people they had never met. Today, as we mourn with their families and loved ones, we cannot forget those sacrifices.
While there are millions who will grow up without their own story of September 11th, they will grow up in a world that was forever changed by the evil of that day. But more importantly, they will grow up in a country that is continually shaped by the legacy of bravery and compassion displayed by those we lost, because we will never forget.
Today, and every day, may God bless America.