Honoring Sept. 11 victims is vital

Honoring Sept. 11 victims is vital by Sen. Tom Daschle The spirit of service runs deep in South Dakota. I believe that is why the attacks of Sept. 11 resonated so intensely here, nearly 1,500 miles from New York and Washington, DC. Immediately after the attacks, I was proud to see the outpouring of support from our state. Countless South Dakotans donated blood or raised money for the families of victims. One ranching family I know sold $40,000 worth of cattle and donated the proceeds. Two years later, South Dakotans are once again reaching out to the families of the victims and commemorating the anniversary of those attacks alongside their neighbors.

It�s vital that we continue to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attack and stay true to its lessons. On that day, two years ago, we saw not just an unprovoked attack on innocent lives. We saw one of the finest examples of selflessness and service our nation has ever seen. Nearly 400 police, firefighters, and emergency rescue personnel were among the 3,000 victims that day simply because, without hesitation or doubt, they answered their call to duty.

Much has been said about how Sept. 11 changed America forever because it demonstrated our vulnerability. But I believe a more profound change came about because that day demonstrated the true nature, and the true measure, of our strength as a nation. That strength comes not from our size or our wealth, but from our courage. The memory of Sept. 11 holds great sadness because so many who embodied that courage lost their life. But there is hope in the memory of Sept. 11 as well, because on that day we learned just how enduring and expansive is the courage of free people.

For this reason, we hold the memory of Sept. 11 close to us and honor those who gave their lives. We honor them not for how they died, but for how they lived.

Remembering the victims of Sept. 11 is a solemn obligation for every American. Because within our remembrance of their courage lies the seeds of our own. And with their demonstration of duty lies our understanding of our own obligations as citizens. No physical memorial could match the depths of their bravery or their sacrifice. But by serving our community and our country, and by instilling those values in our children and grandchildren, we can build a true and lasting memorial to Sept. 11. On this day, let us rededicate ourselves to building that memorial in South Dakota and across the nation.

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