U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks today at a ceremony on the steps of the United States Capitol honoring 9/11 victims on the 12th anniversary of the attacks:
“It’s hard to believe that 12 years have passed since the horrible day we gather here to remember, 12 years since many of us stood on these same steps to show our sympathy, solidarity, and our resolve.
“On a clear September morning, we had suddenly found ourselves under attack by an old enemy wielding a new and fearful weapon – carriers of the innocent had been converted into weapons of war.
“Everything changed on that saddest of mornings, and yet so much remained the same.
“In the fearful minutes surrounding those attacks, fathers placed tearful phone calls to families they would never see again…
“Mothers made desperate last stands high above the clouds…
“And frightened children became survivors of an attack they were too young to comprehend.
“For the rest of us, the monstrousness of the acts was just as difficult to understand.
“And yet, while the men who carried them out succeeded in their mission to kill and maim the innocent, they failed, as we all know, in their true objective.
“Their fondest hope was that we would cower in fear and abandon the practices and principles that distinguish us from them.
“And in that, they did not succeed.
“Because in the days and months that followed the attacks of 9/11, we did not cower or turn inward. Overseas, we took the fight to them – denying terrorists the sanctuaries and staging grounds they’d need to plan and launch further attacks on our soil.
“And here at home, we opened our doors, our wallets, and our hearts to each other.
“We came together, reaffirming the principles of openness, of tolerance, and of freedom that set us apart.
“We did not stop expressing ourselves loudly or debating robustly.
“And we persevered – both by acting with resolve, and by remaining free, and open, and characteristically us. I have faith that we’ll continue to persevere as this struggle continues.
“So we look back today with our hearts still heavy and our heads still bowed. Far too many died on that terrible morning.
“To the thousands who were cruelly taken from us, we say again that you will never be forgotten.
“To the families and friends left behind: you, too, are not forgotten.
“Not by the ones you loved, and not by us: your friends, your neighbors, your country. We thank you for your strength, and your perseverance. And we continue to stand with you, with the same sympathy, the same solidarity, the same resolve.”