A Day of Remembrance

September 11, 2012

Today the nation remembers the lives lost on September 11, 2001. It is a solemn day, but it is also a day of service. By taking time to serve others today we demonstrate our resolve and resilience as we continue to embrace democratic values and fundamental liberties, not fear and oppression.

This morning, at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., Attorney General Holder paid tribute to the 72 law enforcement officers who rushed to the scene and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty:

In the face of hatred and destruction on a nearly unprecedented scale, these heroic men and women answered the highest calling of their profession – placing the safety of others above their own.  As images of smoldering wreckage and crumbling buildings played out on television screens and in their own backyards – from New York City; to Arlington, Virginia; to Shanksville, Pennsylvania – these officers heard the call go out.  They saw the rising smoke, and heard the cries of those in need.  And – without hesitation, without delay, and with the knowledge that this critical mission could well be their last – every one of them rushed toward the dangers from which all others had fled.

Put simply, their selfless actions saved countless lives.  Their valor reminds us of the quiet power of compassion, patriotism, and selflessness.  And – especially this morning – as we lift up their stories, we also affirm that this annual observance has always been about much more than the pain that was inflicted – and the buildings that were destroyed – eleven years ago today.

It’s about the extraordinary life that binds us together.  It’s about the enduring values that have always been the hallmark of America’s law enforcement community.  And, above all, it’s about honoring the friends, neighbors, and loved ones who were taken from us – far too suddenly, and far too soon – on that terrible day.

Each of their names has been forever etched, alongside more than 19,000 others, in this place of remembrance.  Each of their legacies lives on in the efforts of those who wear the uniform, who safeguard their countrymen and –women from crime, and who protect our nation’s security. And each of their sacrifices is honored in the work of all who strive to promote – not only safety and security, but peace and justice; in the actions of organizations like this one, and our nation’s Department of Justice, as we stand together to support the officers and their families who give so much to keep us safe; and in the commitment of Americans across the country who gather on this day to ensure that – in our own time, in the lives of our children, and in the work of future generations – the stories, the memories, and the rich legacies of those we lost on September 11th will never be forgotten.

The Justice Department and the entire nation honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks. At the department, we remain fully committed to the fight against those who target Americans and our way of life.  We know the best way to honor the legacies of the victims of 9/11 is to prevent further terrorist attacks on this country, which remains the highest priority and most urgent work of the department.

For more information about the department's efforts to protect Americans and the American way of life, visit justice.gov/911