Senate District 20
Tim Schaffer
20 Years Later: Remembrance and Retrospect
A guest column by State Senator Tim Schaffer
September 9, 2021
Twenty years ago, I remember driving to Columbus for House session on a beautiful September morning. Suddenly, I heard a news report on the radio of a terrible story unfolding in New York City. What followed was a day of horrific updates as the largest terrorist attack on American soil in history played out.

I remember so many Americans answered the call to duty that day. Firefighters and police officers in New York and at the Pentagon rushed into burning buildings to save their fellow Americans. Enlistment offices around the country were packed with patriotic men and women rising to the occasion to do their part on the battlefield. Cities across the nation stood shoulder to shoulder, united against a common enemy.

Later, while serving in the Ohio House of Representatives, I was humbled to be appointed chairman of Ohio’s first Homeland Security Committee--something we never imagined needing prior to September 11, 2001. And we got to work, helping strengthen Ohio against all threats, foreign and domestic.

The America I remember from that day looked out one another, supported each other, and would lay down their own lives for each other. By all means, September 11, 2001 was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history, but the strength of the American spirit shone bright. Standing together in the face of adversity, our nation proved resilient, bound by love for one another and resolve to bring justice to our enemies.

Today, our nation is weakened by mistrust, crippled by hate, separated by opposing views, and although seemingly divided, I still believe there is hope for the United States of America.

Over the last 20 years, Americans have worked tirelessly to protect this nation. Despite the current events unfolding on foreign soil, that work was not in vain. To any veteran who served during Operation Enduring Freedom, I understand your frustration, sadness, and anger.  

What you need to know is that none of the current failures in Afghanistan rest on you or your fellow service members. To the contrary; we are proud of you and love you for the sacrifices you have made, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. You did your job; you kept terrorists disorganized and perplexed with no attack emanating out of Afghanistan for 20 years, and you shouldered more than your share of the load. We are forever indebted to you.

As the tragic situation in Afghanistan continues, please know that we as a nation stand with you in frustration and loss. You are not alone in these feelings, and your countrymen want to help. Both the State of Ohio and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have resources set aside for you. If you need help, click the links above or call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or send a text to 838255. Admitting you need help and asking for it is never a sign of weakness.

Know that the America you helped secure and protect is strong and resilient, and we will prevail together, as One Nation.
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