It is a bittersweet irony that the tragedies that tear our country apart are the same events that knit our communities together. Right on the tails of Hurricane Harvey already devastating parts of Texas and Louisiana, this past weekend a hurricane ripped a path of devastation up the spine of Florida, and while the winds have now quieted and the rain has stalled, it will be many days before we understand the magnitude of the damage. While we don’t know yet the toll this storm has claimed, we do know one thing. Like Texas and Louisiana, Florida is strong, and Florida will recover. Because this is the American way.
Sixteen years ago today, our nation was tested as it never had been before. A cowardly attack struck at the heart of our country, and as the whole world watched in horror, our nation wondered if it could ever be whole again. But in the hours and weeks after that fateful September day, we saw the very best of our country. We stood united, we comforted our neighbors, we remembered our own strength. Our communities rose to the challenge, and rather than tear us apart, September 11 reminded us how much we are all intertwined.
Today is a somber day, as we remember lives lost 16 years ago, and as our hearts go out to those in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida whose lives may never be the same. It is a day for remembering how much we value our neighbors, our friends, our communities. And mostly it is a day we are proud, proud to be part of the fabric that makes America a beacon of hope and progress.