September 11, 2019

Eighteen years have now passed since September 11, 2011, a brilliant blue morning when terrorists used commercial airliners to kill nearly 3,000 Americans in New York City, northern Virginia, and rural Pennsylvania. We at the Goldwater Institute join today with all Americans to remember the lives lost that day and the families and friends who will always feel their loss.

Today’s anniversary should remind us that while freedom is a blessing, it is not beloved by all. Certainly, the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were orchestrated with a message in mind—to strike at the economic and military centers of this country, to attack the very essence of American life. On September 11, 2001, thousands paid the ultimate price just for living their lives in freedom—going to work to provide for their families, traveling for business or pleasure, or doing the selfless job of protecting other Americans as firefighters or police officers. They were enjoying the freedom that enabled them to live their lives exactly as they chose, unaware that they were on the front lines of a fight waged by those who despise our way of life, our ability to live freely.

Today, there are tributes to those who lost their lives on 9/11, as there have been each September 11 since the attacks. But remembering that day should not be something that is confined just to this anniversary. Perhaps the best tribute we can pay to the men, women, and children who perished on September 11, 2001 is one we can pay every day of the year: to go about our lives as they did. Today, we should go to work, spend time with family, and live our dreams—we should live our lives in freedom as they were doing that September 11.

On the evening of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office, speaking to the millions seeking a rationale behind such horrific attacks. “America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world,” Bush said. “And no one will keep that light from shining.” These words ring just as true today as they did 18 years ago: It is just as important today that we all work together to keep that light shining.

The atrocities committed on September 11, 2001, should never be forgotten. Every day, we should pay tribute to the memory of those who perished that day—celebrating the freedom that we are so fortunate to have by living our lives as we see fit.

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