For Immediate Release:
September 11, 2008
Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130
(202) 225 - 3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered the following statement at the Congressional Remembrance Ceremony in observance of the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001:
"Look down: We are blessed to be standing on solid stone. Behind us, on the other side of the Capitol, is a construction site, the site of a new visitor center. Remember the ditches and the machinery, the upturned soil and the broken concrete. And now imagine a construction site spread over not just a part of this Capitol complex, but over the whole of it.
"Think of rubble where these solid stone steps are. Picture scaffolding where our House chamber now stands. And where the dome rises, imagine a crater.
"We were spared that. We were spared it because, seven years ago today, a handful of ordinary Americans found that they owned unthinkable heroism—because an airplane spiraled out of the sky into a Pennsylvania field, 150 miles short of its terrible destination: the steps where we stand.
"They saved us. Let us spend our lives earning their gift. Let us use our lives to honor the 3,000 dead, and the more than 4,000 who have died, since then, in our country’s service.
"A century and a half ago, the dome behind us stood unfinished and open to the sky, and in the depths of war, President Lincoln said—keep building.
"Today, in our own time of war, this dome and this Capitol are whole, but the work is the same—keep building. We are the architects, and we are the raw material. Keep building our imperfect selves: stronger in devotion to our country and its gift of liberty; stronger in love for one another, even when we argue, even when we fight—especially then.
"Because we know what words 9/11’s victims left the world with. Not words of vengeance, or anger, or even explanation—but, invariably, words of love. We remember them today, and we say, in the words of the Song of Songs: 'Love is as strong as death.'"