September 11th Ceremony & Memorial Sculpture Dedication
|Date:||September 12, 2012|
View the September 11th Ceremony &
Memorial Sculpture Dedication Video
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Remarks by Mayor Jay A. Gillian
September 11, 2012
Good evening and thank you all for being here.
How many of you were struck by how similar a day it was today as that terrible day eleven years ago? A Tuesday with the same blue sky, the same pleasant temperatures and what seemed like a normal business day.
President George W. Bush addressed the nation that night and said in part the following:
“The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation in chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong. A great people have been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
I want to repeat that last line by President Bush: “These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
Today we gather as a community to dedicate a memorial sculpture featuring a piece of that very steel. It was dented that terrible day, but it now serves as the centerpiece of this sculpture. A sculpture which future generations will visit and be reminded of everything 9/11 meant.
It reminds us of the nearly 3,000 people who went to work or boarded a plane that day never to return to their families and friends. It reminds us today, as it did eleven years ago, that life is fragile and nothing is guaranteed. We should appreciate that and cherish our time with our loved ones every day. We should treat every day of our lives as an opportunity to do some good and do our very best.
The sculpture, at this location in front of our Fire Department Headquarters, reminds us how fortunate we are for the men and women who protect us everyday. Our armed forces along with our fellow citizens who serve as police officers, firefighters, rescue workers and emt’s come to work each day, willing to sacrifice everything in service to the public. Every day, all across this country, they are risking their lives for us. We should never forget their commitment, bravery and dedication. Chief Callahan and Chief Breunig have introduced some who have served our country as well. They’re outstanding people. Please join me in another round of applause for their service.
And we’re reminded of the ordinary citizens who acted with bravery and courage that is hard to imagine. Ordinary people, despite being injured themselves, who helped co-workers and strangers. Civilian office workers at the Pentagon, who made it out safely, but rushed back in because others had not. Passengers on a flight over Pennsylvania who decided to take heroic action in the air, so more innocent lives wouldn’t be taken on the ground.
These are the stories I urge you to tell your children and your grandchildren when you visit this memorial and remember that day eleven years ago today.
Tell them also how the world united in support of our country. They flew our flag; they lined up to donate blood; they prayed for us in English, Hebrew, Arabic and hundreds of other languages.
Tell them how the Members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, stood arm in arm on the steps of the Capital and sang “God Bless America”.
On that day here in Ocean City, a day so much like today, people lined up to give blood. Some of our first responders prepared to go to New York to help. And we gathered in prayer at the Tabernacle.
We gathered because as a community because we know that prayer comforts us in the worst of times, and prepares us for the challenges to come.
Tonight we gather again. We gather to dedicate a piece of art.
French painter Georges Braque once said: “Art is a wound turned into light.”
With that let’s light this piece of art.