Remarks as prepared for delivery
Good morning and thank you all for being here. It is an honor to stand with so many friends, colleagues and members of our extended Justice Department family as we observe a tragic anniversary of devastating loss – and as we look ahead with determination, with compassion and with hope. At this time, I ask you all to join me in a moment of silence.
[MOMENT OF SILENCE]
Thank you. Fourteen years after the most deadly terrorist attack ever carried out on American soil, the events of September 11, 2001, remain seared into our national consciousness. In New York City, in Somerset County, Pennsylvania and in Arlington, Virginia – not far from where we gather now – nearly 3,000 innocent lives were stolen and our law enforcement community lost more than 70 heroes. Today, we come together to mourn their loss, to remember their lives and to embrace their legacy.
We are also gathered to plant a tree in their memory – a tree that comes from seedlings of a pear tree that stood on the World Trade Center Plaza in 2001 that was nearly destroyed when the towers collapsed. Bruised, battered, it was a miracle that it had survived at all. But with time and care, the tree came back to life with a resilience and a vitality that symbolizes the American spirit and it blooms again. That tree, known as the “Survivor Tree,” still stands at the 9/11 memorial – a reminder that through unspeakable tragedy, we can endure; we can prevail; and we, too, can bloom again.
I want to thank the 9/11 Memorial for their gracious donation of the Survivor Tree seedling. As this new tree grows and blossoms in years to come, let us remember that we will always stand together, no matter what storms may come. We will always persevere in the face of heartbreaking loss. And we will forever uphold the legacy of love and sacrifice of our loved ones who were taken from us before their time. As we give this tree new life and as we go forth from this place today, let us remember their beauty, their spirit and their friendship. Let us keep their memories alive. And let us resolve to build a world deserving of their joy, their love and their grace.
God bless the memories of those we lost on this fateful day. God bless the loved ones who continue to hold them close. And may God bless our American family.