Philadelphia, September 11, 2014– Mayor Michael A. Nutter delivered the following remarks during the Philadelphia Fire Department and Flag Day Association 9/11 Memorial Commemoration at the Betsy Ross House. Check against delivery:
“There are a few people I want to recognize before I begin. First, I want to thank Michael Axelrod of the Philadelphia Flag Day Association for the introduction and for helping to put together this important event.
Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross and Prison Commissioner Louis Giorla – I want to thank all of you for your service and commitment to protecting our great city.
Also, I want to recognize Colonel Siegfried Honig of the 3rd Regiment Infantry of the National Guard Pennsylvania. Thank you for your service and for participating in today’s ceremony.
And, Joseph Schulle, President of Local 22 of the International Association of Firefighters. Patricia Coyne with the Daughters of American Revolution and Lisa Aker Moulder from the American Flag House & Betsy Ross House thank you for being here today and for hosting us here at the Betsy Ross Memorial. And, thank you Rabbi Albert E. Gabbai of the Congregation Mikveh Israel for the beautiful invocation.
On September 11th, 2001, this country suffered a terrible tragedy that shocked us all to our core. That day will forever stand out in our minds. The loved ones that were lost will forever remain in our hearts. On that terrible day, the sense of security that we had become accustomed to was suddenly ripped away, and we were left feeling vulnerable and afraid.
President Obama reminded us last night that terror and terrorists still pose a danger to us in America and around the world. I commend President Obama for organizing a coalition “…to degrade and destroy ISIL.”
Terror and fear cannot be successful. America will not accept anything other than freedom. America cannot be defeated because of our heroes.
We mourn for the victims who lost their lives and with those who lost loved ones in the attack. And, we appreciate the men and women in uniform – police officers, firefighters, and other first responders – who courageously faced unimaginable danger. Almost 30 of our own Philadelphia Firefighters and Police Officers traveled to Ground Zero to help search the rubble for survivors.
I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices of the heroic men and women who lost their lives trying to save others.
There is no greater honor in this world than public service – from first responders to the men and women in the military. I want to thank all the men and women who have served or are currently serving our nation in the armed forces.
Today is a somber day of remembrance and commemoration. It is important that we never forget what happened on this day. But, we must also remember that those terrible attacks brought us together as a nation.
Because we are a country of survivors. We are fighters. We are Americans. So, remember that even though this tragedy, the horror of which is unmatched in our time, devastated us, it did not destroy us. We continue to grow, press on and move forward. I know we will always remember. I know we will never give up. I know we will never forget.
God bless Philadelphia. God bless the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. God bless the United States of America.”