The Day the Lights Went Out in New York City

It was an extraordinarily beautiful clear crisp morning on the east coast of the United States.  The business day had just begun and people were going about their work day unlike any other.  Stores were opening, computers were coming to life, meetings were starting, phone calls were being made and the morning news shows were alive with the reports of the day.  At 8:45am on that beautiful Tuesday fall morning American Airlines flight 11 was deliberately flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center in NYC starting what would become the worst attack on civilian life in US history.  Almost 3,000 innocent people died in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania that terrible day as a result of this gruesome act of terrorism; Muslims, Christians, and Jews; men, women, and children; firefighters and police, and people from 90 different countries including more than 40 Dominicans.  The United States will never forget the solidarity and expressions of condolence from the world community, including the Dominican Republic, following this heinous event.

Today we reflect on how far we have come and also how far we have to go in combating the scourge of international terrorism.  Our lives were changed in a dramatic way on that day, reshaping our thought and approach to protecting our people and our freedoms and preserving Democracy throughout the world.  We are forever diligent in this approach and must remain collective in the protection of our homelands.  Fortunately, NYC has experienced a renaissance since the tragedy, with a booming economy symbolized by the rise of the new Freedom Tower in place of the fallen giants.  The U.S. has also experienced a recovery with an improving economy and a falling unemployment rate.  We have seen a boom in clean natural gas production and invested billions in solar and wind technology, reducing our dependence on oil imports while building a cleaner energy grid.  Key leaders of terrorist organizations have been brought to justice and the world has become more vigilant in protecting its citizens.  The recently inaugurated 9/11 Memorial on the grounds of the World Trade Center serves as a constant reminder of our nation’s commitment to never forget the past, but also draw inspiration from the sacrifices of so many, to meet the challenges of the future.

Unfortunately, one only has to read the daily headlines to know we cannot rest, we will never rest.  We will continue to build a broad coalition and highlight the danger posed by foreign terrorist fighters.  I am confident that free and democratic people from around the world will continue to challenge intolerance and champion human rights, freedom, and equality.  Hate-mongering can only exist in the world when we are splintered in our approach to freedom.  When we stand united in our approach, collectively embracing all people and providing equal opportunity and protection then our Democracies will flourish and remain strong, not allowing any opportunity for terrorism to prosper.  Today we remember 9/11, today we turn to our brothers, our sisters, our mothers, our fathers, our aunts and uncles and cousins and our neighbors and friends, we turn to them with the embrace of love and kindness, linking arms and shaking hands in the solidarity of Democracy.