It's hard to believe it was 14 years ago already. But I guess that's what our elders said 14 years after the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy. That's what they said 14 years after Pearl Harbor. That's what we said 14 years after the Challenger blew up before our stunned eyes. Horror happens, time passes, and the moments and emotions stay etched in our memory despite the passage of time.
But today I'm declaring victory over 9/11. Terrorists brought their worst. But Americans and our friends brought our best. I love that people still remember and share stories of that horrible day. And the stories they share are what have declared our victory. I have not heard one thing about the terrorists. I don't remember their names. I don't care to. But I've heard endless stories of heros - people who sacrificed their lives to save others. We remember the flight full of people who hastened their own deaths to prevent the deaths of many others. We remember whole career fields of people who rushed into the bedlam while the rest of us ran away. I've heard stories of towns that welcomed thousands of stranded passengers whose flights were waylaid when air space was shut down that day. I've heard of employers who made sure that all of the children of their deceased employees were able to go to college for free. I've heard of friends who met in the horror of that day, only to have love triumph over tragedy, with a decade of marriage and a house full of kids to show for it. Americans became kinder to each other after that day. The international community showed sympathy and love to us.
We don't celebrate death and fear on September 11th. We celebrate sacrificial love and service. We celebrate recovery. We celebrate compassion. We celebrate what's great about our country and our people. May we never forget. And may we all be able to rise to the occasion if we're called upon to serve.