Katie Britt: Remembering 9/11, recommitting to our fellow Americans this Patriot Day

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September 11 terrorist attack
As seen from the New Jersey Turnpike, smoke billows from the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City after airplanes crashed into both towers, September 11, 2001. [Photo Credit: AP | JTA | Gene Boyars]

Saturday marks the twentieth anniversary of when the world stopped turning, September 11, 2001. Two decades later, it is more important than ever that we never forget that day – both the incredible loss we experienced and how America responded with strength and unity.

First and foremost, please join my family in pausing to remember the victims of 9/11. We lost over 2,900 innocent people to the day’s horrific terrorist attacks, and thousands more were injured or exposed to toxins as a result. Our prayers are with the victims’ loved ones and for everyone still dealing with the aftermath of this assault on America.

Twenty years have passed, but the pain will never fade for so many. It is important to remember that the remains of over 1,110 victims have not yet been identified. This process continues, as two victims from the World Trade Center were identified just this past week.

One of the worst days in our country’s history also brought out the very best of America. So many answered the call on and after that September day, and we should honor them in our words and deeds throughout the year.

The incredible bravery of first responders and pure acts of kindness from everyday Americans showcased the greatness of our people. Firefighters and police officers rushed into the burning buildings, up the stairs towards the danger. Their valor is forever etched in our memories. And we’ll always remember the countless stories of generosity and humanity that shone through that dark time, exhibiting the strength of these United States of America to a worldwide audience.

We also saw a generation of American servicemen and women stand up to defend freedom and keep us safe. For the past 20 years, they have sacrificed their youth and their lives overseas so that we could be safe to live here at home.

The world is a better place because our courageous servicemen and women answered the call, and we will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude that we owe them.

Patriot Day is a day to reflect on the enduring American spirit, as well. The unity we saw in the aftermath of 9/11 affirms that the ties that bind us together are far stronger than anything that attempts to tear us down. All of humankind saw on that day that while America would join together on bended knee in prayer, we would not break. This anniversary serves as an opportunity to recommit to our fellow Americans and rekindle the spirit that arose as a beacon from the darkness of September 11, 2011. The unity we saw on and after that day still lives on in the heart of our nation. It is incumbent upon us, the next generation, that we always keep that spirit burning bright.

We will never forget those we lost on 9/11. Let us strive to live lives that honor them and our heroes who never fail to answer the call.

Katie Britt is a Republican candidate to serve as the next U.S. Senator for Alabama. An Enterprise native, Katie resides in Montgomery with her husband, Wesley, and their two children, Bennett and Ridgeway.