Never Forget

Twenty years ago terrorists attacked our way of life. Innocent lives were senselessly cut short, brave first responders ran into danger to help their fellow Americans and our country united in defense of our freedom. I was honored to commemorate this anniversary and reflect on the heroes who we will never forget at the 9/11 Flags of Honor Across America Memorial ceremony in Springdale today.

For those of us old enough to remember them in vivid detail, the events of September 11, 2001 instantly shocked and outraged us. Those emotions completely enveloped Americans in waves in the hours and days that followed.

Every day of my service in Washington has been colored by what happened that day.

We were the target of that attack despite being the most generous nation ever, the freest, the most productive, the most inventive, the most diverse and the most faithful.

Yet we were singled out for destruction. But despite the intentions of the extremists who launched that evil, brutal assault, our response was to come together.

We transcended differences and divisions to stand as one people, united in sorrow and pain, but also in resolve and purpose, pledging to move forward with a renewed sense of identity and compassion for each other.

We also understood that we were facing a new reality.


I visited with first responders after the Bentonville High School 9/11 20th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony on Tuesday.

We put those responsible for provoking this act of war, on notice.

We hunted down al-Qaeda and brought to justice Osama bin Laden, a key architect of modern Islamic terrorism.

Now, as our military presence in Afghanistan has ended, the extent to which America’s warriors serve and sacrifice, with humility and care, on behalf of our freedom is more apparent than ever.

Thousands of men and women answered their country’s call and helped wage the Global War on Terror with dignity, skill and honor. This battle against the enemies of freedom and on behalf of the democratic principles we hold dear has been prosecuted with success and stamina by dedicated U.S. service members, for whom we are eternally proud and grateful.

In the aftermath of 9/11 and what followed, we learned that no amount of retribution, however just and necessary, can fully heal our wounds. That’s why we come together in a Day of Service to pay tribute to all those lost, injured or forever altered by the events of that day.

We acknowledge and honor them through acts that build up our communities and strengthen the bonds of unity and patriotism that define us.

I encourage every Arkansan and American to find a way to contribute time and resources toward that end. The benefits serve us in ways that may be hard to measure, but are easy to sense.

In reflection of this solemn anniversary, we remember the victims, share in the grief of their loved ones, serve causes greater than ourselves in their honor and pray for the heroic Americans working tirelessly to defend our country and way of life.

In doing so, we mark the tragedy of that infamous day while underlining and building on the triumph it represents in the most powerful and meaningful ways possible.

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