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Governor Perdue Commemorates September 11 in Ceremony at the State Capitol

Thursday, September 11, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today joined Georgia Homeland Security Director Bill Hitchens, fire and emergency personnel, law enforcement and public health representatives, the Homeland Emergency Task Force, and Community Emergency Response Team members for a September 11 commemorative ceremony in the North Wing of the State Capitol. His remarks are available in audio format on the Governor's website.

The Governor's prepared remarks are provided below.

Prepared Remarks of Governor Sonny Perdue
September 11 Commemorative Ceremony
State Capitol - North Wing
Thursday, September 11, 2003
(Note: Governor Perdue sometimes deviates from prepared remarks.)

Good afternoon. Thank you for being here.

Today we think back and remember September 11, 2001 and how it changed our state and nation.

On that day we saw horrors we could not have imagined before. But they were horrors that evil men did imagine and launch against us; plumes of fire and smoke staining the autumn sky, mighty towers crashing to earth, and thousands of lives snuffed out in an instant.

Yet as those terrifying images filled our eyes we also saw that while buildings may fall the spirit of a free people is unbreakable.

On September 11 we saw a nation come together under fire.

All differences were forgotten as Americans realized that we are one people, one family, and one nation under God.

Strangers gave their lives for strangers that day. Heroes in the uniforms of firefighters and police rushed into the flames giving all they had to do their duty.

Soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen rushed to the aid of their stricken comrades.

And in the Pennsylvania sky, heroes with no uniform except that of "citizen" sacrificed themselves to save thousands of other citizens whom they would never meet or know.

From across our nation, volunteers by the thousands rushed to the scenes of crisis, and millions more sent aid, with donations of time, money, supplies and blood.

In fact, so many people lined up to give blood that the Red Cross and the hospitals had to turn them away.

To me, that's an even more powerful image than those World Trade Center towers streaming smoke.

So were the rescuers working into the night without rest and neighbors opening their homes and hearts to the stranded and the wounded and the lost.

Church pews filled with worshippers gathered to comfort one another and to find comfort in their faith. There truly were no strangers that day.

We saw America peeled down to its core, to its essence. We saw the basic human truth that beneath the skins of our differences lies the heart of our unity.

In our darkest hour we saw the light eternal. That is how we should remember September 11.

We must honor the fallen, and the wounded, and those who suffered losses.

We must honor the heroes of that day. And we must continue to honor what we saw confirmed then; the power of faith, the resilience of community, the bonds of patriotism, and the strength of freedom to endure.

But as we reflect on the shattering events of two years ago, we should also heed the words of the prophet Isaiah, who wrote:

"Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."

We are seeing the "new things" spring forth, aren't we?

Today, the rubble at Ground Zero is cleared away and preparations have begun for a memorial and new development.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting the Pentagon to meet with the service chiefs and to see for myself the place where the war against terror is directed.

There too, the physical damage of the attacks has been repaired, but the reminder of the price we paid in lives lost is constant.

Here at home in Georgia, we are more conscious of security than ever before. And we're thankful for those who work so bravely and diligently to protect us.

So as we honor the heroes of September 11, 2001, tet us also honor these heroes of September 11, 2003 represented here today; our fire and emergency personnel, law enforcement and public health, the Homeland Emergency Task Force, and Community Emergency Response Teams.

And our men and women in uniform who are fighting the war against terror and guarding our freedom every day. We are thankful for them all.

We're thankful that America still moves forward and is stronger than ever despite the terrible blow we suffered.

So on this solemn anniversary, let us rededicate ourselves to what is best in us, to what unites, strengthens and sustains us.

And let us continue to think of ourselves as we did that awful day years ago; as one family, one people, and one nation under God.