Remembering the Victims of 9/11
Excerpts from Congressman Smith's remarks from the Special Order commemorating 9/11:
Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing—I was here in Washington chairing a Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing—when a group of cowards hijacked 4 airliners in order to perpetrate the worst act of terrorism in American history.
Nearly 700 New Jerseyans lost their lives that day.
No-one remembers the shock, horror and numbing sorrow more, however, than the families and close friends of the victims.
Because it was a surprise attack, there was no chance to fight back that day although when Todd Beamer and other passengers learned what happened to the Twin Towers, Todd famously said “let’s roll” and they attacked the terrorists on board the flight that crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
Who can forget the courageous first responders running up the stairs of the burning buildings—with total disregard for their own safety—saving some at the expense of their own lives.
On the morning of 9/11, I got a mere glimpse—I say again, a mere glimpse—into the sense of horror suffered by the victim’s families when I couldn’t reach my own brother Tom—an American Airlines 757 Captain who often piloted Flight 11 from Logan to LA, the flight that crashed into the North Tower.
Evacuated from the Capitol and stuck in traffic within sight of the burning Pentagon, cell phones were all but gridlocked. About noon I got through. He and his flight attendant wife Sandy were safe but were in anguish because they knew the pilots and crew on board Flight 11.
For 18 years, the families and friends of those who died that day and since have had to endure their loss and a broken heart.
Both then—and now eighteen years later—words are inadequate to convey our empathy for those who died and for the victims’ families.
For many, their faith in God has helped them survive and overcome.