Thank you for being with us today as we come together as a community to remember and reflect on the terrible tragedy that happened 10 years ago.
I want to give special recognition to the family members who are with us today of several of the 11 Montgomery County residents who lost their lives on that day. I know this is a difficult day, and we are honored to have you with us.
I also want to thank staff in the County’s Department of Recreation, Public Information and Fire and Rescue Service for all of their efforts to make today’s ceremony special.
Specifically, I’d like to thank Judy Stiles in the Recreation Department and Sue Tucker of the Information Office for spearheading this event along with staff at the City of Rockville. Thank you all for your efforts and hard work.
Our nation has changed considerably over the past 10 years. We are more vigilant as we adapt to enhanced security measures that we encounter in our day-to-day lives. These measures have altered our usual routines – whether it’s entering an office building, boarding an airplane, attending a public celebration or visiting a museum – we have all been affected.
As we remember this tragedy, we must remember the lessons of that day.
First, we cannot let the need for vigilance in the fight against terrorism cause us to justify intolerance.
The terrorists attacked us because of the very freedoms we hold dear as a country. The freedom to pursue happiness without fear of reprisal or discrimination on the basis of the color of your skin, the bent of your religious belief, the politics you hold, or the way you speak.
Second, we must continue to reflect on the sacrifices made on September 11, the days that followed and every day thereafter by our nation’s first responders.
Our dedicated public safety workers put their lives on the line every day for each and every one of us. And, let us also remember and honor the brave men and women of the military who have made a commitment to protecting our way of life and fighting for our freedom on foreign soil thousands of miles from home.
We owe all of these courageous and brave individuals our undying gratitude for the sacrifices that they make for us every day.
The Memorial Park at the corner of Jefferson Street and Maryland Avenue was dedicated in 2003. Unfortunately, because of the weather today, we had to move the ceremony from the park inside.
Many of you have visited the park to reflect on the events of 9/11 or, perhaps, just to enjoy the peace and tranquility that this little park offers.
Whatever the reason, I believe the park inspires a range of emotions in each person who visits. The words on the pavilion plaque, as well as the words on the 11 benches dedicated to the lost loved ones from Montgomery County, remind us that the spirit and memory of these individuals will never fade from our thoughts and we must carry on for them.
Again, thank you for taking time to join us today as we pause to remember and reflect on the events of September 11, 2001.