WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the bipartisan House Resolution commemorating the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The following are the Majority Leader’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, the Members who rise tonight to speak on this important legislation do so not as Democrats or Republicans – but as one, as Americans united in the defense of this great nation and the ideals for which it stands: freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.
“Six years ago tomorrow – September 11, 2001 – is a day that none of us will ever forget as long as we live.
“September 11th is seared into the American consciousness – much like December 7, 1941, and November 22, 1963 – as a day of infamy, a day of unspeakable horror, a day of unmitigated evil, and, yes, a day of incredible heroism.
“On this eve of the sixth anniversary of September 11th, this resolution – jointly introduced by myself and the Republican Leader, Mr. Boehner of Ohio – recognizes this as a day of remembrance and resolve.
“We remember the nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children who lost their lives on September 11th, and we extend our sympathies to their families, friends and loved ones.
“We honor the courage and heroic actions, service and sacrifice of our first responders and volunteers – as well as our valiant servicemen and women.
“And, we reaffirm our commitment to defending the American people against any and all future challenges.
“In that regard, as this Resolution states, we remain steadfast in our determination to disrupt, dismantle and defeat terrorist organizations, and that we will harness all elements of our national power – military, economic and diplomatic might – to do so.
“In the aftermath of September 11, Americans – awakened to the threat of international terrorism – collectively declared ‘never again.’
“And, over the last six years, thousands of Americans have worked tirelessly to improve our nation’s security and to protect our people.
“Furthermore, this Congress has passed and the President has signed numerous laws to assist victims, combat terrorism, protect our homeland, and to support the members of our armed forces who defend our interests at home and abroad.
“Perhaps none of these measures has been more important than the passage this year of H.R. 1, legislation implementing the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.
“Among other things, this legislation requires 100 percent screening of cargo on passenger aircraft and 100 percent screening of seaborne cargo before it gets to U.S. ports. It ensures that first responders can communicate with each other, improves rail and mass transit security, and seeks to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD.
“Without question, H.R. 1 will help us harden our defenses and combat terrorism. However, no one should be mistaken: Legislation alone cannot immunize our nation from attack.
“In fact, as the chairs of the 9/11 Commission wrote yesterday in the Washington Post: ‘Six years later, we are safer in a narrow sense: We have not been attacked, and our defenses are better.” But, as they point out, “We still have a long way to go.’
“So tonight, let us recognize September 11th as a solemn reminder of our vulnerability.
“Let us also be reminded that we are part of something much larger than ourselves. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave, and the terrorists who sought to break our spirit only clarified our purpose and steeled our resolve.
“May God continue to bless our great country.
“I urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution.”