This is the fifteenth anniversary of a day most of us will never forget . . . and should never forget.
At several local events organized to commemorate this occasion, I will deliver variations of the following remarks.
Remarks of Mayor Noam Bramson – September 11, 2016
Fifteen years is a long time. Time enough for children to grow into adults; for families that were broken to become whole again; for the skyline of lower Manhattan to rise once more. Scars heal.
As the horrific events of September 11, 2001 recede further into memory, becoming less a part of our daily experience and more a part of our history, it is fair to ask what the meaning of this 15th anniversary ought to be.
Why are we here? Why should we be here?
Certainly not for politics or partisanship, because this is a day that should unite all Americans and remind us of the many things we share.
And not also to debate the issues of war and peace, security and privacy, or any of the other serious questions that spring from our struggle against hatred and terrorism. There is a time and place for such debates, but it is not now.
I believe we are here — should be here — for just two simple reasons.
First, to honor the victims of 9-11 – and to honor also their families, whose pain may ease with time, but never fully disappears.
It is for all us to lift up our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and friends, whose lives were shattered that day — to lift up the First Responders who protect us close to home, and the armed forces that protect us around the world. To continue holding them in our prayers and in our hearts, never forgetting their sacrifice, always demonstrating our profound respect and gratitude. Surely we can do this.
And there is a second reason: to remember that we are as good a community and country as we choose to be.
This is the strongest nation on the face of the Earth. Nobody knocks us out. Don’t get me wrong – there are many dangers. But there is no threat from outside that can take away our liberties, that can take away our belief in the God-given equality of humankind, that can take away our faith in the possibility of a more just and loving world.
These things rise or fall on the strength of our own convictions and the power of our own example. We choose.
That is both the blessing and the burden of American exceptionalism, and a challenge to every man, woman, and child who looks with pride to the flag of our country.
So let this be not only an occasion to remember and to mourn – although it should be that. May it also be a day to renew the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood that always make us stronger together from sea to shining sea.
God bless the United States of America and God bless all people of good will.