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Pelosi on House Resolution Commemorating 9/11 Anniversary

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon commemorating the sixth anniversary of the September 11th attacks prior to House passage of H.Res.643. Below are her remarks:

'Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I thank the gentleman for yielding.  I thank him for bringing this resolution to the floor.  I thank Mr. Hoyer and Mr. Boehner for co-sponsoring this very important resolution to remember what happened on 9/11 six years ago. 

'On that terrible day, our country received an assault that was personal and it was vicious.  Our country responded with unity and with clarity about our resolve to fight terrorism.  On a personal basis for the families who were affected, I want to thank them, the families of 9/11, for turning their grief, their sorrow, into action.  They inspired our country to form a 9/11 Commission, to have the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush this summer.  For that, all of us who care about the security of our country and the safety of our people owe those families a deep debt of gratitude.  We also owe them the sympathy that their loved ones will always be in our hearts. 

'Earlier today, Mr. Speaker, I went to Ground Zero.  I saw the rebuilding that is going on on that site.  It's not without great sadness that one visits that hallowed ground.  It's not without remembering when some of us visited the first time six years ago, following the tragedy.  At that time it was total silence, no speaking, no photographs, just a somber evaluation of the destruction that had been wrought and about the lives that had been lost. 

'Today Ground Zero is rebuilding.  It's rebuilding a memorial to remember and it's rebuilding to say to the terrorists that they have not won.  The main goal of terrorists is to terrorize, to instill fear.  They don't care about lives.  They don't care about buildings.  They just want to make people afraid.  They want to change the way we run our country, do our business, live our lives, honor our freedoms.  But if that was their goal, they certainly have failed.  Whether it's at the Pentagon, where a wreath will be laid tomorrow.  Whether it's in Pennsylvania, where we will mourn that loss forever.  Or whether it's in New York City at Ground Zero, the American spirit is alive and well.  Again, they have lost this fight because we will not change who we are.  That's what they resent and that's what we will not relent on. 

'So to those families, thank you.  We will always, again, carry your loved ones in our hearts, but thank you for turning grief into power, into law, into a safer America. 

'To those courageous people who rushed in, whether it was the police officers or firefighters, whether it was just volunteers, people off the street going to try to help, construction companies going in and try to clear the area, to them we also say thank you for their courage at Ground Zero.  But we owe them more as well.  And so I hope that in our resolve to remember and to rebuild, and to honor our freedoms and to honor our people, we will understand that we must honor a responsibility that we have to those who have tried to save lives at Ground Zero, who may have lost their health because of it. 

'And so on my trip to New York, at Ground Zero, and at City Hall, I talked to the Mayor and Governor about how we can work together in a bipartisan way, to see what is fair and what can be done.  Fairness will prevail for these people, but the message will be clear: God forbid if we are ever faced with another situation that we are in compact, we have a compact with our people that we stand together, we will not stand alone, if we are affected by another tragedy.  So it's very sad, and I thank Mr. Hoyer and Mr. Boehner for putting together this very excellent resolution. 

'Following the vote later this evening, we will leave the chamber, go down the steps of the Capitol, to have a vigil on the eve of 9/11.  As the distinguished Majority Leader, Mr. Hoyer, mentioned six years ago, spontaneously members, Democrats and Republicans alike, came together.  At his suggestion, we sang 'God Bless America.'  And we will do that again tonight.  We will sing that song with all the sincerity in the world.  Moved by its beauty, but also committed to its words, we know that God has truly blessed America, with our men and women in uniform who are fighting terrorism, with our first responders who are the first line of defense in our community in ensuring homeland security, and with all Americans who are joined together to never forget what happened on 9/11, and never forget that we are committed to our freedoms. 

'So don't forget, my colleagues, following the vote on this resolution, about another hour, let's all join together.  It'll be one of the first memorials after 9/11 this year, once again, on the steps of the Capitol.  With that I commend Mr. Boehner, Mr. Hoyer.'