Sixteen years ago this morning, after tragic and cowardly acts of terrorism were executed on Americans, countless law enforcement officers, firefighters and port authority personnel ran into chaos, working hard to save strangers knowing their next trip into those burning buildings may be the trip they wouldn't survive.
They ran in to those buildings anyway. They had families - parents, children, spouses, friends - but because of their courage and selflessness, they eagerly raced into danger for the sole purpose of helping others, despite the risks and dangers ahead of them. Those are the men and women we honor today. We honor them and mourn their loss, along with the loss of all the innocent citizens who were merely working and living their lives that day.
In the aftermath of those attacks, Americans put aside their differences and came together because of our collective pride in our nation. Despite our backgrounds, socio- economic status and political ideology, we were first and foremost Americans!
Hopefully, today, in addition to mourning the loss of those killed during the attacks and honoring the heroes that emerged -including the numerous men and women who were moved to enlist in our armed forces - we can decide not to focus so much on what sets us apart, but instead regain that sense of patriotism and togetherness!