Congressman Fred Upton: Remembering September 11

Friend,

Today, 16 years ago, our nation was struck with terror unlike we have ever witnessed. Like most of you, I can remember where I was the moment I heard the news that we were under attack and would like to share some of my reflections from that day.

I can still feel the raw emotion of that day as I watched with terror as the events unfold in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The heavy heart and pitted stomach I had while witnessing pain and destruction wrought on so many innocence lives.

I remember how people came together. Family, friends, neighbors, and communities united in a show of support and spirit of comradery so strong that it lifted the burden of uncertainty and fear – however briefly – from our souls. I remember the incredible tales of bravery, self-sacrifice, and compassion that bubbled up in the moments after. I can particularly remember the family from Kalamazoo County who lost their son, a recent college graduate, and printed a book whose proceeds went to help Afghan orphans. That spirit is America at its very best. 

I remember how in the weeks following the attacks, when folks were putting the pieces back together and Congress had returned to session. As I would drive to our nation’s Capitol Building, every single overpass proudly hosted an American flag and then, the Pentagon would emerge on horizon; still wounded from the attack. Over its large gash, an American flag was placed that reminded us of Band-Aid – letting us know that everything will be alright with time. And so it was. We restored the Pentagon, added a national park as a memorial to the passengers on Flight 93, and constructed One World Trade Center as a shining example of the American spirit. Unbreakable.

We also honor the many, many brave men and women lost fighting the war on terror and we pray for those on the front lines now.

On September 11 we will always remember pain. But as we continue to heal, let us remember that we are all friends, neighbors, and Americans. United together, we can continue to make this world a brighter place.

God bless,

-Fred