Politics & Government

Senate leaders recall 9-11, offer memories and tributes

U.S. flags fly at half-staff in front of Union Station in Washington D.C., Sept. 11, 2014, in memory of the 9-11 attacks. (Tish Wells/McClatchy)
U.S. flags fly at half-staff in front of Union Station in Washington D.C., Sept. 11, 2014, in memory of the 9-11 attacks. (Tish Wells/McClatchy) McClatchy

Senate leaders Thursday remembered the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and offered poignant memories of the day.

“I remember where I was,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

He was in the Capitol for a weekly leadership meeting. “We turned on the TV and saw that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We didn’t know what happened, but assumed that it was some terrible accident. Before long we had to evacuate the building – there was another plane coming for the Capitol,” Reid told the Senate Tuesday.

“As I walked out of the room, I peered out the window and could see the thick black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon. That’s an image forever seared into my memory.

“Later that day, we returned to the Capitol and met on the steps – we weren’t sure what to do, but felt we needed to be there. That’s when Senator Barbara Mikulski said in her powerful voice, “

‘We’ll sing ‘God Bless America.’ And we did. Those who could sing, sang. Those of us who couldn’t sing, sang. It was a poignant moment that I will never forget.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell also offered a tribute Thursday. “Every American that morning bore witness to terrible tragedy and suffering,” he told the Senate. “But that wasn’t all we witnessed. We also saw incredible acts of bravery, and compassion, and heroism. We saw it in a great city, we saw it on the edge of a capital, and we heard about it high above the clouds.

“The sacrifices of those heroes of 9/11 inspired us then, and they inspire us now. The memory of every man and women who perished so tragically that day continues to serve as a unifying force for our nation. And we will never stop honoring them.”

“And quite frankly, I don’t want to ever forget that moment or that day. By remembering, we honor the heroes who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. The greatest memorial we have to offer the brave men and women who perished on 9/11, is to simply never forget.”

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