Today we remember 9/11/2001. It is the 9/11 17th anniversary. Not only do we need to remember this difficult day in American history, but we need to reflect upon it. More importantly, what it meant for first responders to do their job that day. What it took for New Yorkers to collect themselves and do what needed to get done that day. What it meant for those who couldn’t escape, and what it meant for the family and friends of those who didn’t make it. And, what it took for Americans across the country following 9/11 to look in the mirror, set aside our grievances, and come together as citizens of one constitution.
Here are 10 powerful quotes that help us remember and reflect on the 9/11 17th anniversary of that dark day, and the importance for all Americans to stand together.
“It’s the nature of the world that most people have moved on, but the people directly involved with 9/11, for them, twice a day it’s 9/11.” – Robert Reeg, former FDNY firefighter.
“One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.” – President George W. Bush at the Pentagon in 2008
“With almost no time to decide, [your loved ones] gave the entire country an incalculable gift. They saved the Capitol from attack. They saved God knows how many lives. They saved the terrorists from claiming the symbolic victory of smashing the center of American government. … They allowed us to survive as a country that could fight terror and still maintain liberty and still welcome people from all over the world from every religion and race and culture as long as they shared our values, because ordinary people given no time at all to decide did the right thing.” – President Bill Clinton in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in 2011
“September 11, 2001, revealed heroism in ordinary people who might have gone through their lives never called upon to demonstrate the extent of their courage.” – Geraldine Brooks
“Remember the hours after September 11th when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran up stairs and risked their lives so that others might live; when rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon; when the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation’s Capitol; when flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.” – Secretary of State John Kerry
“I give speeches around the country. I tell how Stanley and I made our way out of the tower. Life is precious, I tell them. It can be gone in an instant.” said Brian Clark, 9/11 survivor. Stanley Praimnath, 9/11 survivor said, “I still have the shoes I wore to work that day. The soles are melted and they’re caked in ash. I keep them in a shoebox with the word “deliverance” written all around it. They’re kind of like my ark, a reminder of God’s presence and the life I owe to him.”
“When Americans lend a hand to one another, nothing is impossible. We’re not about what happened on 9/11. We’re about what happened on 9/12.” – Jeff Parness, founder of New York Says Thank You
“My father was the best person I have ever known and though he was taken from me on that day, nothing and no one will ever be able to take away the eight years and two days of my life that I shared with him. After my father died, and after I lost so much, I promised myself that I would never lose who I am as a person – the person that my father brought me up to be. … If you owe someone an apology, tell them you are sorry today. If someone asks for your forgiveness, forgive them. Start being the person you always wanted to be today and don’t waste your time worrying about tomorrow.” – Mary Kate McErlean, whose father was killed on 9/11 when she was 8 years old.
“September 11 was, and remains, above all an immense human tragedy. But September 11 also posed a momentous and deliberate challenge not just to America but to the world at large. The target of the terrorists was not only New York and Washington but the very values of freedom, tolerance and decency which underpin our way of life.” – former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Today, the 9/11 17th anniversary (and every year for that matter) is an important day of reflection for Homes for Heroes employees and our affiliate specialists. It was the heroic acts of American heroes in New York this day in 2001, seventeen years ago, that provided the motivation to eventually create Homes for Heroes as a way to give back to those who serve and sacrifice for our nation and its communities every day.
We stand united and we will never forget.