September 11, 2019
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) spoke on the Senate floor to reflect on the 18th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Following Are Blunt’s Remarks:
“Mr. President, as my friend from Indiana and others have pointed out today, this is a day that Americans remember as a day of unique tragedy. Earlier today, on the Senate floor, we had a moment of silence in the middle of a series of votes. The Senate floor was full of members who paused to think about what had happened that day.
“I think almost every American alive today knows where they were that morning. It was a beautiful clear morning, just like this morning was. If you were too young to remember where you were that morning, there's a real likelihood that your parents told you where you were that morning.
“It was a seminal moment. It changed how we looked at so many things in our country. Today, we reflect where we were and the changes that occurred after that. I was working in this building, on the other side of the building, as a member of the House 18 years ago. And I shared with Capitol Police today my appreciation for what they do every day.
“On this day, every year, I remember being one of the last people to leave this building as the Capitol Police were working hard to get people out. A sense that that plane was coming here and was going to either hit the White House or the Capitol. And I remember walking out of the door and I really was among the last to leave the building here that day. But, I remember looking in the eyes of the Capitol Police woman who was still at the door and thinking and realizing that I was going to be out. If the building was a target, I was quickly going to be somewhere else, she was still going to be here until those who work with us and work to protect us every day were sure that everybody that could possibly be found and gotten out of the building was already gone.
“We clearly understand the world's a dangerous place. We just had a discussion this week, a foreign policy discussion, about whether in the country that really had served as the haven for al-Qaeda, what would happen if we totally left that country back to the Taliban and would it become a haven again, and almost certainly I think it would.
“We really need to think about a number of things today. One is so many people do so much to protect us all the time. We have thousands of Americans in uniform and in the intelligence community that every day spend their time being sure that we're as safe as we can be and that our freedoms are secure.
“They're deployed overseas, they’re fighting terrorist groups like ISIS or the remnants of al-Qaeda. They’re working here to spot homegrown terrorists, they’re doing what they can to find what somebody may be talking about or what somebody may be bringing across the border that would be of danger. And Senator Capito and I were just at the border last week, and one of the things we talked about were not only the drugs coming over the border, but the other things coming over the border designed to harm us and who we are and how we live.
“In St. Louis, Missouri and Arnold, Missouri we have the second biggest installation of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency constantly looking at the information that's out there, looking all over the world to see if there's activity in places that there wouldn't be activity. But if there was activity, it would likely be activity that would be designed to harm us or others in the world. We need to understand that and we also need to understand that, in the society we live in, there's never perfect security and perfect freedom at the same time. And we've worked really hard not to allow ourselves to lose the freedom we cherish in return for the security we'd like to have.
“We also need to remember those people that respond. The first responders that ran toward the tragedy on 9/11 as others were able to run away from the tragedy passing each other. Many of those first responders became numbered among the 3,000 Americans that died that day.
“Just last month, the president signed into law the National Urban Search and Rescue Parity Act that allows federal employees to be active participants in urban search and rescue teams, whether it's from a natural disaster or a manmade disaster.
“[The] third thing we need to keep in mind is how important it is we honor and care for the victims and heroes among us. Those that ran toward the tragedy, those they left behind. People who still suffer today because of what happened to them that day. As likely as not those people that benefit from the Victims Compensation Fund were people staying behind to help others or rushing forward to help others.
“We don't want to become afraid to be the great diverse society we have become. We don't want to become a society where we allow the terrorists to win by taking our freedoms away. But this is an important time for us to think of those freedoms for those who defend those freedoms for those who rush to the scene of danger, when we have danger, and for those who try to do everything they can to minimize that.
“So today we grieve, we pray, we remember, we resolve that we will continue to be vigilant against attack and unafraid of defending who we are.”