15 years ago, I was at work in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia when I first learned what happened. I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget the first time I saw footage of the planes striking the towers. I’ll never forget the phone calls to family members and friends in New York. The hours spent watching the news, waiting for information, worrying about everyone I knew who might’ve been near the place that we would soon call ground zero.
We all have those memories. We all remember where we were when we learned about the worst terrorist attack in American history. We’ll never forget the horror of that day and the fear and anger that we felt.
But we remember just as clearly how that day brought out the best in us. We’ll never forget the extraordinary courage of the first responders who ran into the towers to get people out, who risked and in many cases gave their lives to save others. We’ll never forget the civilians who stepped up to help. We’ll never forget the way that we united as a country to support the victims, families and survivors.
As we commemorate the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, it’s important to remember everything about that day. It’s important to pass those memories on to the next generation. It’s important to reaffirm our commitment to first responders, many of whom now suffer from serious medical conditions as a result of their heroic actions at ground zero. And it’s more important than ever that we keep working to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil.
I’m proud that last year we successfully reauthorized the Zadroga Act to ensure that the heroes of 9/11 continue to get the health care and screening they deserve, and I’ll keep doing everything I can to keep our country safe.