Senate District 24
Matt Dolan
Remarks by Senator Matt Dolan at September 11th Ceremony - Brooklyn Park Memorial (As Prepared)
September 11, 2022
Thank you Councilman Borowski and Mayor Gallagher. Thank you all for attending this morning. It’s obvious September 11, 2001 remains in our hearts and minds.

9/11 is like Pearl Harbor, the JFK assassination, or the shuttle disaster, you know where you were and who you were with when you heard the news of the terrible events of that day.

Twenty-one years ago this morning, I was at the Chardon Municipal Court getting ready to go in for a hearing when I saw the news a small plane crashed into the World Trade Center. It struck me as odd because it was such a beautiful day. As I entered the courtroom I thought how terrible. I hope and prayed there weren't very many people in the offices where that small plane had struck.

Like so many of you, as news reports from New York, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania became more clear, it was abundantly clear, the United States was under attack.

Why do we remember this day?

We remember the 2977 souls lost, lives cut short, dreams unrealized.
We remember those surviving family members who may be living with the guilt of not saying “ I love you” as their spouse, son, daughter simply left for a day of work.

We remember the brave firemen and police officers, many of whom were off duty that day, who raced towards the Towers because it was their duty to save others.

We remember the heroes on Flight 93 putting their lives at risk to save the lives of others. We wonder if we were in that moment would we have been as brave.
From heroism, came unity. Both at home and abroad.

We rallied as a country in empathy for those who we lost with a shared resolve to hold those responsible.

We remember because that’s the day the world shrank.

Our friends and allies abroad were there for us.

Queen Elizabeth II, rest her soul, ordered her Guard to play the Star Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace for the first time in the building's 300 years.
NATO, also for the first time ever, invoked Article 5. Claiming for all the world to see, that the attack on the United States, was an attack on every NATO Member country.

There are countless stories such as this. The world reflected the unity that existed here upon our own shores.

21 years on, we look around today to see that unity is stressed. It’s up to us as to whether it’s truly broken.

I talked of what we remember of this day but it’s equally as important to realize what we have forgotten.

We have forgotten the souls lost on that day were Americans not Republicans not Democrats not black not white or Hispanic but Americans.

Did any of us know the party affiliation of Todd Beamer when we learned of his and other passengers' attempt to take control of Flight 93 in the skies over Ohio and Pennsylvania?

We’ve forgotten that we take our shoes and our belt off at the airport to protect not just our lives but the lives of others.

We forgotten that little inconvenience at the airport pales in comparison to the mothers, fathers, husband, wives, sons and daughters we have lost since 9/11 quenching our thirst for revenge and seeking those responsible.

I think we have forgotten why they attacked us on September 11, 2001. Terrorists, al-Qaeda, attacked us because America was a symbol of freedom and liberty. They attacked us because we are a country that expressly allows freedom of religion, expression, protest.

Their targets, the Twin Towers in New York, was an iconic symbol of economic opportunity and strength. The Pentagon, the beacon of defense of democracy and freedoms throughout the entire world.

Flight 93, it has been learned, was intended for the Capitol. The citadel of American democracy and heart of our Republic.

They attacked the United States in the United States because we represented in the world all that is good. Think about it. If you are a terrorist who rejects the concept of equality, opportunity, expression, justice, rule of law, Of course you were going to attack America. We stand for everything that they reject.

Now I ask myself if those 2977 lives were to look at America today would they be proud of us?

Are we that example of unity, civility, tolerance, acceptance, strength, and opportunity regardless of your status, race, political affiliation, gender or nationality?

Would our allies abroad extoll that same sense of unity today?

The terrorist wanted to attack us because they hate what America is and divide us. Now I fear our politics, not homicidal hijacked planes are attempting to divide and isolate us.

The real question we must answer for ourselves is... Are we now evolving into a country where we are attacking each other because of disagreement, intolerance of others beliefs, our individual opinionated truth and acceptance of only those who are of like mind.

When we accept our own truth, if we only talk with people who agree with us; our unity disappears and we become isolated in our communities and our world.

The truth is not what we are told it is, it needs to be what we learn it is. And we only learn by engaging. And Engagement only happens if we are willing to expose ourselves to different ideas. Agreement is not always the outcome of engaging but mutual respect and understanding is. Our forefathers memorialized our right of pursuit of happiness, maybe today we should also seek the pursuit of the truth.

We have been here before.

Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg address spoke of those who died, on both sides, on the battlefield a few months earlier when he said:
we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Just as then and as we do today, we remember and honor those who died. A few months later in his second inaugural address, President Lincoln told the nation how we honor those who died.

We honor our fallen by respecting the living;
(Paraphrasing) With malice towards none and charity for all we must heal our nation, with God's grace forgive and finish what is right and bring lasting peace to ourselves.

We honor those who died on 9/11 by being that America the terrorists hate.

We honor these souls by leaving here as Americans, not republicans, democrats or independents, but as Americans embracing freedom, liberty and truth.

We honor the brave by accepting our differences among us are not points of division but the fabric of why America is an exceptional nation; engagement brings mutual respect and understanding which binds us as a nation.

God Bless those who died on this day 21 years ago and may God give us the strength to be and remain the UNITED, the United States of America.
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