WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined Members of Congress at the September 11th Congressional Remembrance Ceremony today to pay tribute to the many Americans who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Prior to the service, he introduced a resolution on the Floor commemorating that day, which passed the House. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Today we mark the distance traveled between fear and memory.
“Eight years ago we saw fear out of a clear blue sky. We saw monuments of our power and our pride turned to dust in an instant. We felt, in one day, fanaticism’s terrible cruelty, and the terrible beauty of selfless sacrifice.
“Now the wounds of grief and shock are scarred over. Now we can say ‘grief’ and ‘shock’ as if they were only words. But on that day they were more real than words can express. And if eight years have dulled our grief, for an hour we call it back, deliberately, today.
“Pain fades; but today we will it back, to stay with us for this hour. We remember; and in the face of such inhuman evil, our memory keeps us human. We hear the voices of those we loved and lost, and we feel their presence.
“And we come here again, and say these words, not because fear or pain compel us, but because we choose to. We imagine our dome caved in, but for the men and women who gave their lives and saved us. We send our thoughts to the dead in New York, in Arlington, and in Pennsylvania, and to those who lost their lives under our flag across the world in each year since, and to those who loved them. This is an hour for re-opening wounds—and, however much it stings, we will do so again and again, as long as memory lasts.
“The American writer Mark Helprin once reflected on soldiers who had seen death, and his words hold true for us, as well: ‘That they cannot forget, that they do not forget, that they never allow themselves to heal completely, is their way of expressing their love for friends who have perished. And they will not change, because they have become what they have become to keep the fallen alive.’”