As we mark the eighth anniversary of the tragic terrorist attacks on our country, we are reminded of the adage that "time heals all wounds." At Ground Zero, bulldozers are laying the foundation for new towers, while millions carry on their daily routine. Many who lost spouses have remarried, finding comfort in new love. Infants have grown into children and children into adults, with thoughts that dwell on the future, rather than the past.
For this we should be grateful. No one should live in the perpetual shadow of grief. And yet the wounds are still raw. New Yorkers still perceive the skyline of Manhattan as maimed and incomplete. We are still gripped at certain moments by memories of loved ones that are unbearably painful. We are still at war, bearing the unfinished burden of rooting out the perpetrators and instigators of evil. And as a Nation, as a people, we understand that the innocence shattered on that awful morning 8 years ago can never be fully restored.
Our challenge then, as Americans, is to honor the loss and heed the lessons of 9/11, while also affirming at every opportunity the optimism and confidence that always defined this great Nation at its best. In this body, we do this by remaining strong and steadfast in our determination to confront terrorists and their sponsors, using the full spectrum of American power as an instrument of justice. We do this by, together with the firefighters, police officers, emergency workers and intelligence officers, committing to the hard work of securing our land against those who would do violence, ensuring that our transportation networks and energy facilities, our ports and our bridges are defended by more than feckless hope.
We do this by refusing to give up our liberties out of fear, knowing that a retreat from our founding values does more harm to America than any external enemy ever could. And we do this by pursuing the age-old American vision of a world lifted by freedom, knowledge and prosperity in which all men and women have the tools to build just and decent societies that live in peace with their neighbors.
It has been my duty and honor to serve and to serve those goals as a Member of the United States Congress. In tribute to all those who lost their lives 8 years ago, to all those who have lost their lives in Iraq, in Afghanistan in the time since, and to all those whose lives are still shaped every day by memory and loss, let us together commit to upholding these responsibilities until our work is done.
Thank you. May God bless America, and may God bless all people of goodwill.