Department of Justice Seal

Remarks of
Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson
DOJ’s Couryard Event
1st Anniversary of September 11, 2001
8:30 am - September 11, 2002

We gather together this morning to mark the first anniversary of September 11, a day that – like December 7, 1941 – forever changed the course of our Nation’s history. A year ago today, terrorists assaulted not only our country, our citizens, and our symbols of American liberty, prosperity, and security, they attacked the values for which we stand – values of justice, equality, and freedom.

On this Patriot Day, we honor the memory of the family, friends, coworkers, and fellow Americans we lost, and our hearts are with all those who loved them. We must never forget those who died – but it is just as important that we never forget why they died. Their lives were stolen by enemies of freedom. In the name of freedom, we must recommit ourselves to ensuring that our fellow citizens have not, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "died in vain."

This past year has been an extraordinary one for America, for the Department of Justice, for the men and women who serve here, and for the families we love and support as we have worked together to root out terrorism. To meet the challenge history has placed before us, we have been called to a new mission of justice and service to our country.

Last fall, the Attorney General called on all of us to re-dedicate ourselves to greater effectiveness, greater efficiency, and greater resolve in protecting the nation’s homeland. You have all responded with incredible energy, and we have taken great strides towards our ultimate goal of protecting our country from further attacks. I want to thank you, the men and women of justice, for your hard work, and pay tribute to your own self-sacrifice and courage over this past year.

As we reflect on the tragedy of last September 11, let us also take the opportunity to look to the future. We have succeeded in protecting our homeland from another terrorist attack, and that is a tremendous victory–no doubt about it. America is safer and stronger today than a year ago, but our work is not yet finished.

In President Lincoln’s immortal words, "It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us." It is now our great task and our great privilege to ensure that America continues to grow safer and stronger, and to ensure that justice and freedom will be victorious for generations to come.

Thank you for your service to this great nation. I am proud of each and every one of you. God bless you, and God bless America.