No elected officials spoke at the annual commemoration ceremony at Ground Zero in New York.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told CNN he was “not offended” that the ceremony was “a little more compact,” but “I’m upset that the memorial isn’t done yet.”
Congress gathered on the East steps this morning to sing “God Bless America,” an annual tradition that began on the evening of the terrorist attacks.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that time “will never dim the American people’s spirit of unity in the wake of the attacks.”
“Time will never diminish the courage of our police, firefighters and other — all the first responders,” she said. “And with the 9/11 health bill now the law of the land, our country will continue to stand by them in deed as well as in word.”
“We remember how worried some people were about what the attacks would do to America. Would it weaken us in the world? Would it weaken us at home? Would we stand up? Would we shrink?” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Well, 11 years later we can say with certainty and with pride that 9/11 didn’t reveal the weakness of America, it revealed the greatness of America.”
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) choked up as he remembered “the patriots who banded together in the sky over Shanksville to save this Capitol and these steps.”
“The professionals who did their duty, who ran in so that others could run out … the volunteers who raised their hands and said, ‘I’ll go,’ and now fight overseas in perilous conditions. The good Samaritans who lined up to give blood and ask, ‘What can I do?’ And the faithful on their knees in prayer, seeking God’s strength and guidance.”
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there were “no credible threats today, much different than it was last year.”
In a day of remembrance, though, vigilance against another attack was urged despite a conspicuous absence of hawkish tone in the statements issued by members on both sides of the aisle.
“Osama Bin Laden is dead, but the War on Terror isn’t over. I remain committed to doing everything possible to make sure that America will never again fall victim to another vicious attack,” said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas).
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) tied that vigilance to the looming defense sequestration. “In order to keep America safe, our military must continue to remain the most capable in the world by possessing the resources necessary to protect our Nation and those fighting for us in harm’s way,” he said.
“American’s Mayor” said people naturally move on with their lives, but some things shouldn’t be forgotten.
“I think there always has to be a remembrance of what happened on this day forever and certainly now, because it’s not over yet. I mean, this is not a memorial, really. Pearl Harbor is a memorial. This is an ongoing war against us by Islamic extremist terrorists who want to come here this very day and do exactly the same thing they did 11 years ago and what they did in 1993,” Giuliani said.
“And we’re fortunate that we’ve stopped about 40 of these attacks. Meaning the government stopped 40 of these attacks, most of it by really good work, and every once in a while by just dumb luck like the attack in Detroit at Christmas Day two years ago.”