September 11, 2021

Van Hollen Statement on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement marking the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001:

“Twenty years ago the September 11th attacks took the lives of almost 3,000 of our fellow Americans, including 69 Marylanders at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and aboard United Airlines Flight 93. That day forever changed our country as we confronted the shock of an assault from a terror group halfway around the world. We will never forget those who lost their lives that day.

“In the midst of the darkness, we also witnessed the courage and heroism of our first responders, who ran toward burning buildings and wreckage to rescue those in need. We also saw our country come together, united by the resolve to prevent a similar attack in the future and bring the perpetrators to justice. Al-Qaeda’s mission that day was to tear us apart – to turn Americans against one another and to turn this country against itself. Instead, we responded to that terrible moment with common purpose. 

“In the twenty years following that awful day, we have never forgotten those who lost their lives and have worked to support the families of those who perished, including the loved ones of the emergency responders, who sacrificed themselves to rescue others. Leaders at the local, state, and national levels of both parties joined forces to make us safer against continuing threats. We adopted the key recommendations of the independent 9/11 Commission.

“Our nation also went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. And while there will be time to continue to evaluate the wisdom of all aspects of those wars, today is not that time. Today, and every day, is a time to honor and salute those brave men and women who served and who sacrificed in those conflicts – and pay tribute to those who gave their last full measure of devotion in service to our nation.

“Now, twenty years later, we must once again rekindle the spirit of unity that we witnessed in response to the  9/11 attacks. As we witness Americans turning against one another amidst polarization and division, I fear that we are doing to ourselves what Al-Qaeda could never accomplish. The January 6th attacks on our Capitol did not originate half a world away; they came from within. We must overcome this division in the same way we rallied together in common cause after the terrible attacks twenty years ago. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Together, we must again join as one, and with the grit and determination of the American people, our best days are still ahead.”