Governor thanks first responders and military for post 9/11 safety and security

Governor Bob McDonnell, flanked by Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker and Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, remembers those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, during a commemoration ceremony held Sept. 11, 2013, at the Bell Tower on Capitol Square in Richmond. He also thanked first responders and the military for everything they have done to keep Virginia and the rest of the country safe over the last 12 years. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Governor Bob McDonnell, flanked by Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker and Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, remembers those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, during a commemoration ceremony held Sept. 11, 2013, at the Bell Tower on Capitol Square in Richmond. He also thanked first responders and the military for everything they have done to keep Virginia and the rest of the country safe over the last 12 years. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Bob McDonnell recognized Sept. 11, 2013, as a Day of Remembrance, Patriotism and Prayer in the Commonwealth of Virginia. During a commemoration ceremony at the Bell Tower on Capitol Square, he thanked first responders and the military for everything they have done in the last 12 years to help keep Virginia and the rest of the country safe and secure.

McDonnell said that he thought having more than 3,000 Americans die in a single day brought a new sense of reality for things the United States stands for like democracy, freedom, individual freedoms and privacy. He credited the great work of first responders for the fact that more people didn’t die that day, and he said it was an amazing tribute to military and law enforcement officers that the last 12 years have been a time of safety.

“We owe them an amazing debt of gratitude,” McDonnell said. “I’d like to ask you that every time you see one of these first responders or veterans to go up to them and thank them for what they have done for our state and for our country, because they are truly the ones that because of their blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice that have kept American safe and secure and allows us to enjoy these blessings of liberty.”

McDonnell noted that more than 15,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have been mobilized for federal active duty since Sept. 11, 2011, many for three, four or more tours of duty.

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker and Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, joined other cabinet officials at the ceremony.

“In the National Guard community, we are all very aware how much our lives have changed because of those attacks,” Long said in a statement sent out statewide to the Virginia Guard. “I thank all of you for your service to the Commonwealth and the country and the high state of readiness you work so hard to maintain. I hope that we never face such horrible losses again on our own soil, but I am confident that the Virginia National Guard will be ready to answer any call our nation asks of us.”

McDonnell said that the tribute we can pay to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, is to not take our liberties for granted.

“Live each day to the fullest,” he said. “Enjoy these uniquely great American freedoms were are guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”

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9/11 Day of Remembrance, Patriotism and Prayer
http://www.governor.virginia.gov/OurCommonwealth/Proclamations/viewproc.cfm?id=390

WHEREAS, the events of September 11, 2001 profoundly affected – and continue to affect – all aspects of our society, and the lives of Virginians, Americans and people across the world were changed forever following the destruction of the World Trade Center complex in New York City, the attack against the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and the crash of Flight 93 in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania; and

WHEREAS, twelve years later the citizens of our Commonwealth and these United States continue to mourn for the more than three thousand innocent voices that were tragically silenced-including 184 in Virginia at the Pentagon-by terrorists on that infamous day of death and destruction; and

WHEREAS, it is imperative that we never forget our shock and revulsion at the needless destruction, the bravery of our first responders who risked all for their neighbors, our anguish from the sudden loss of so many precious lives, or how we as a people did not succumb to a state of fear as the terrorists intended, but instead set aside our differences and united as patriots in our country’s hour of need; and

WHEREAS, while we reflect upon the memory of the departed, it is important that we also pause to remember and honor the sacrifices of all those members of our armed forces who have given their lives in heroic service to our country and all members of our military who have volunteered to bring those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and their supporters to justice during the Global War on Terror; and

WHEREAS, prayer has long served as a measure of our nation’s strong heritage of faith and has been an indispensable source of moral and spiritual guidance for citizens throughout our Commonwealth’s history, and it is fitting that our Commonwealth reserve a day in which our citizens may reflect and mourn – consistent with their own faith traditions – with those who have suffered as a result of terrorism, to humbly ask God for the strength and fortitude necessary to protect our lives, liberty and property from future transgressions, and to give thanks for the freedoms with which we as a people are fortunate enough to be blessed;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize September 11, 2013 as a DAY OF REMEMBRANCE, PATRIOTISM AND PRAYER in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens; and

FURTHERMORE, I urge all citizens of our Commonwealth to display the flag of the United States of America wherever possible, and I invite all to witness a one-minute, statewide Moment of Silence starting at 9:37 AM – when American Airlines Flight 77 impacted with the Pentagon in our County of Arlington – and I encourage all Virginians to reflect upon the lives lost and heroic sacrifices made on that fateful eleventh day of September.