tv U.S. Senate Senators on 911 Changes Since Terrorist Attacks CSPAN September 12, 2019 8:40am-9:25am EDT
who lost their lives tragically 18 years ago, and to make sure that we never forget what happened then. i vividly remember that morning in my own office in jasper, indiana. didn't have tv. somebody there brought it up on the internet. that second plane flew into the building. happened know what with the first one. we knew what happened with the second. center rick scott and i recently over thep summer break took a trip to israel. all of that went into preparedness, the evil that lurks around the world. i see it begin up close to where it always makes you wonder, how can you live like that? how can you be prepared when you know thereno are always
individuals, countries out there just like in 1941, just like in 2001. imagine living in a country where the entire border, surrounded by a fence or wall, to keep people out. and in the really tough places there's another barrier. and in the really tough places, a dirt berm. that drove home again how important it is to be prepared and to always be strong when it comes to defending this country, the liberties and freedoms that we all enjoy every day. never thought it could happen in 1941. 1941. didn't think it could happen in 2001. it can happen again because that's the world we live within. when i came here as a u.s. senator, i always knew the most important thing this body shoule do is foster the defense and the security of this country. and when you see it can slip so
precariously over the last few years, if they could does we built it back up to a level that makes sense. it's because we always need to be prepared. and if were going to truly honor all the lives t that were lost n 1941, 2001, inevitably down the road, we need to be strong. we need to be prepared, and we always need to be aware of the fact that we are blessed, just like the state of israel is blast, despite all of that, a thriving economy. we live with that danger every day. they t find a way to get through it. let us never let our guard down or drop our defenses here. our freedom and our liberty depend upon it. i yield the floor.
>> mr. president? >> senator from missouri. >> mr. president, as my friend from indiana and others have pointed out today this is a day that americans remember as a day of unique tragedy. earlier today on the senate floor we had a moment of silence in the middle of a series of votes the senate floor was full of members who paused to think about what had happened that day. i think almost every american alive today knows where they were that morning. it was a beautiful, clear warning just like this morning was the if you were too young to remember where you were that morning, there's a real likelihood that your parents told you where you were that morning. it was a s seminal moment. it changed how we looked at so many things in our country. today we reflect where we were and the changes that occurred after that. i was working in this building on the other side of the building as a member of the
house 18 years ago, and i shared with capital please today my appreciation for what they do every day. on this day every year, i remember being one ofer the last people to leave this building as the capital please are working hard to get people out, a sense that that plane was coming here and was going to either hit the white house or the capitol. and i remember walking out of the door, and i really was among the last to leave the building here that day, but i remember eyes of the capital please woman who was still at the door and thinking, and realizing that i was going to be out, if the building was a target i was going to quickly be someone else. she was still going to bee here until those who worked with this and worked to protect us that everybody that could possibly be found and gotten out of the building was already gone.
weekly understand the world is a dangerous place. we just had a discussion this week, , a foreign policy discussion, about whether in the country they really had served as a haven for al-qaeda, whatn would happen if we totally left that country back to the taliban, and would it become a and almost certainly i think it would.d. we really need to think about a number of things. one is, so many people do so much to protect us all the time. we have thousands of americans in uniform and in the intelligence community that every day spend their time being sure that we are safe as we can be, and that our freedoms are secure. they are deployed overseas. they are fighting terrorist groups like isis or the remnanto of al-qaeda. they are working here to spot homegrown terrorists. they are doing what they can to
find what somebody may be talking about what somebody maybe bringing across the border that would be a danger. and senator capito and i were just at the border last week, and one of the things we talked about were not only drugs coming over the border, but the other things coming overhi the border designed to harm us and who we are and how we live. in st. louis, missouri, and arnold missouri where the second-biggest installation of the national geospatial agency constantly looking at the information that's out there and looking all over the world to see if there's activity in places that there wouldn't be activity. but if there was activity it would likely be activity that would be designed to harm us or others in the world. we need to understand that and we also need to understand in the society we live in, there's never a a perfect security and perfect freedom at the same
time. and we worked really hard not to allow ourselves to lose the freedom we cherish in return for the security we would like to have. we also need to remember those people that respond, the first responders that ran toward the tragedy on 9/11 as others were hble to run away from the tragedy, passing each other, many of the first responders became numbered among the 3000 americans that died that day. just last month the president signed into law the national urban search and rescue parity act that allows federal employees to be active participants in urban search and rescue teams, whether it's from a natural disaster or a man-made disaster. third thing we need to keep in mind is how important it is we
honor and care for the victims and heroes among us, those that ran toward the tragedy. those left behind. people who still suffer today because of what happened to them that day, that likely is that those people that benefit from the victims' compensation fund were people staying behind to help others are rushing forward to help others. we don't want to become afraid to be the great diverse society we have become. we don't want to become a society where we allow the terrorists to win by taking our freedoms away, but this is an important time for us to think f of those freedoms, for those who defend those freedoms, for those who rushed toru the scene of danger when we have danger, for those who tried to do everything they can to minimize that. so today we agreed, we pray, we remember, we resolve that will continue to be vigilant against
attack and unafraid of defending who we are. and with that, mr. president, ideal the floor. >> mr. president, center fromim iowa. >> mr. president, i askt unanimous consent that the votet series begin following the remarks of senators daines, columns, lankford and cotton. >> without objection. >> mr. president, 18 years ago on a bright clear sky september morning, without warning our nation was attacked. many of us probably remember where we were on that horrible day. i had that morning all. i was at home with my nearly two-year-old daughter. we didn't have the tv on. we had a couple of gentlemen at
the house. i was getting a brand-new furnace on that day. what would be normally a couple our installation turned into an all day event, as those men would take time off from installing our new furnace to run into the other room so we could see what was going on on the television.ls so i had to make phone calls that morning. the first was early. it was from a neighbor, and she said, joanie, do you have the tv on? and i said, no, wanda, i don't get what's going on? she said you just need to turn the tv on. so i did. i saw the horrible events unfolding right in front of us. the second on call i got was from my ibook army national guard unit.
captain ernst, we are doing a 100% accountability check. we need you to stay by the phone all day so we know how we can get a hold of you. 100% accountability. it was an experience many of us had never felt before, the terrifying shock of knowing that the country we love and our fellow americans were under attack. mr. president, our adversaries sought to tear us apart by their cowardly act. but instead, they brought us together as americans. for in those terrible moments we also saw the very, very best of our country. the firefighters, , the police officers, the first responders, and ordinary citizens who
courageously put their lives on the line toco save countless others. on that day as individuals and as a nation, we came together in a unique way. and we also made a pledge to never forget. to never forget the nearly 3000 victims and the families that they left behind. to never forgetfo the heroism of both our first responders and the everyday mennd and women who selflessly acted to s save live. to never forget the importance of defending our homeland and the great democratic principles that we stand for. it's a pledge i personally take their seriously, and it's why i organize this event for my colleagues to come to the floor today and to share their memories and thoughts on today,
this 18th anniversary of the september 11 terrorist attacks. it's why i worked so hard to make sure our armed forces have the technology, support and resources they need to defend our nation from threats both here at home and abroad. that's what i cosponsored and helped to finally get signedne into law a permanent reauthorization of the septembe' compensation fund. support the first responders who continue to sacrifice their health, and even their lives, from the work and the post-9/11 recovery efforts. and it's why we should never ever take our nation and our freedoms for granted. mr. president, i am one, just one of the millions of americans keeping that promise to never
forget. in fact, today back home in iowa there are countless folks that are honoring that allow them to own thoughtful way. mimi used today anniversary as a day of service, performing acts of kindness throughout iowa. others come together with their communities to honor and remember those who were lost. it's really wonderful to see all of the ways folks are doing that walking in the 9/11 marched to the capital in des moines, the visiting the 9/11 never forget mobile exhibit currently at the clay county fair, to participate in the annual 9/11 moment of silent motorcycle ride in mason city. and for some of our fellow iowans, today will be spent
remembering loved ones lost in the attack. folkss like newtons jean clery, whose husband jim, who was a loving and good-natured, good-humored god-fearing giant of a man who never came home from a fateful business trip to the world trade center 18 years ago. for nearly two decades now, she has been on a crusade to keep jim's memory alive and well. she helps raise funds for newtons very own 9/11 memorial. she speaks to local students educating them about the events of that day. 18 years ago. and she has given her testimony all over iowa. and for folks in iowa, they probably have seen driving across the state.
she has a pretty special license plate which reads nvr4gt. never forget. today and every day iowans are keeping that sacred promise. we will always remember jim clery and the nearly 3000 others lost their lives that tragic day. we will always honor the heroes who selflessly sacrificed and saved countless lives. we will always rise up to defend our nation and citizens. we will never forget. that is our sacred promise. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> mr. president? >> center for montana. >> mr. president, 18 years ago
today, americans witnessed what evil looks like. 18 years ago today americans witnessed the loss of innocent life. 18 years ago today, americans witnessed acts of cowardice. today, montanans and americans across our country taking time to reflect upon the horrific acts of 9/11. today, we take time to remember the thousands of lives lost on that horrible day. we remember the daughters who lost mothers. sons who lost fathers. loved ones and friends and the communities that were broken by these tragedies. i know i speak for most of us when i say that we remember that
day like it was yesterday. that fateful morning i was in roseman montana. i typically like to get an early start at work -- bozeman, montana. we are two hours ahead of eastern time, so it was early in the morning. my wife, cindy, called me. i was at my desk. i was working for a cloud computing software company, just starting the day. and cindy called me. she said, it's really strange news. there's been a plane that is hit one of the world trade center towers. and i think many of us at the time thought it was maybe a small private plane. sort of, and of a strange bit of news coming out that morning. and then as the minutes went by, we started find out what wasng really going on here that it wasn't a small plane. it wasn't an accident.
it was a 767 loaded with fuel because it was attempting to make a journey across our country from boston out to the west coast. .. one that will never stop hurting. i remember after then it was confirmed it was a commercial aircraft, very quickly the speculation began that this was a premeditated terror attack. >> this was a premeditated . terror attack. moments like that, you want to be with your loved ones. i quietly closed the door to my office and i went to be with my wife and family as we watched the rest of the horrible day unfold. 2, 977 innocent americans lost their lives 2,977 innocent
americans didn't return home that day and it's important to think about every single human life that was lost and the pain of the families that remember that day today when they lost their loved ones. that pain is very real yet again today. this was a slaughter of our fellow americans that shook our nation to its very core. yet, in the face of extreme adversity, we're a nation that did come together and we carried on. i think about those moments when our churches, cathedrals were filled with americans in prayer, reflecting upon what had happened. today, we honor and remember the almost 3,000 people who died that september morning. we remember the survivors, those first responders, and the firefighters, the friends and family to those we lost. and while we take the time to
remember today, we also reflect on who we are as a nation. as americans, we're strong, we're resilient. after the 9/11 attacks, we responded with strength and we strengthened the homeland and we're most greatful to those who served and who are serving today in our armed forces. i just more recently, over the last year, last december, i flew to afghanistan. in fact, we carried 50 pounds of montana beef jerky to deliver to the 495th combat sustainment support battalion of the montana army national guard who are deployed over in afghanistan, protecting us. and as i received a brief that day, reminded yet again that this war that we have against terrorism exists this very moment. and i can tell you that because
of the men and women who serve in our armed forces and intelligence and law enforcement across our nation, it's because of them that we're able to stand here today without another terror attack like we saw on 9/11. and i received a brief in afghanistan in december reminding again about the porous border between afghanistan and pakistan that there are plots being created and attempted to hit the homeland again, if it were not for the brave men and women, many special forces as i spent time with the four-star, scott miller, had a career in special forces overseeing the operations there, grateful that they continue to remain vigilant in the fight against global terrorism. america's enemies want us to be afraid, but the thing is here in america we don't give up. when america is strong, so our allies and the free world. we must remain vigilant to make sure that we maintain that
reagan doctrine of peace through strength. the world will never forget what happened on this day 18 years ago. and despite the political differences and divisions we have across our country and this city, we must remember we're all in this together and americans are stronger when we are united. there's no force of evil, or terror, that will ever overcome the will and the determination of a free and united people. we ask that god continue to bless our fighting men and women and may god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you, mr. president, i yield back. >> mr. president. >> senator from arkansas. >> september 11th is a solemn anniversary. 18 years later we still remember the toll from that terrible day. nearly 3000 americans lost
their lives in the attacks on the twin towers, the pentagon and united night 93. every american experienced the pain of loss that day. just as we mourn the innocent lives lost, we also remember the heroism of our first responders who ran towards danger and death to help their fellow americans. out of the ashes of that terrible tragedy arose a strength and, you know, if i that the whole world came to admire. september 11th altered the course of our nation's history in a blaze of fire and smoke and for so many americans, it altered the course of our lives. our fighting men and women deployed overseas just weeks later, and remain in the fight today. so many americans joined them enlisting to defend our nation. young kids who witnessed firefighters rush into the
burning towers grew up and themselves joined units with old-fashioned names like engine and ladder. generation of intelligence officers dedicated themselves to preventing another 9/11 and to have and still do. and our lives continued to be altered because the consequences of september 11th are still with us. the attacks of 18 years ago continue to claim new victims. the first responders and others succumb to injuries and illnesses that trend back to that morning. the al qaeda terrorists who attacked us that morning are bloodied, but defeated and the taliban who gave them safe haven threaten to regain control in afghanistan. most tragic of all our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines continue to fall in the line of duty in defense of our
country. just last week army sergeant first class ortiz was killed in the battlefield in afghanistan. september 11th is his story, too, a story of valor and sacrifi sacrifice. to the story september 11th continues to unfold many years after the fact. memories strengthen our resolve to continue fighting the enemies of free and may we never ever forget. i yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> senator from oklahoma. >> 18 years ago today at my office in oklahoma city, a fellow staff member poked her head into the office and said to me, there's a freak accident that's happened in new york city, a plane flew into the
world trade center. she went down the hallway and pulled in a rolling cart, a younger generation will have no idea what that is. a rolling cart with a tv on top of it and we plugged it in and watched it. the second plane flew in and both of us stood there silently thinking, that's no accident. that's murder on a massive scale and terror like i've never witnessed with my own eyes. what i didn't know is at that moment how many thousands of lives would be affected and how much our nation would be changed. that morning 18 years ago, seven oklahomans died. but our nation was forever changed. common terms we think about today, tsa, or terror watch lists or department of homeland security, or global entry, or body scanners, or the patriot
act. those didn't exist on september the 10th, 2001. they've all come since then as our nation learns how to do more security, we're engaged and learned a painful lesson than what, what people think in an isolated village, in a remote country, what they think matters to us. because what they may carry out if left alone and ignored could kill our family members and our fellow americans. almost 3000 americans died that day, but since that time period we have pushed back, not against the people of afghanistan or the people of iraq, not against muslims or a faith, against the specific ideology that intensely hates
the freedom of america, and who intentionally plans to kill americans they've never met. we learned a new ideology as a nation that day, that we have to not only take it seriously, but that we must not wait until they carry out a fight. if they're planning it, if they're preparing it, if they have the capability, we should assume they're actually going to do it. and since that time period american men and women have taken the fight to people who want to come and kill more americans. but it's also been at a great cost of american blood and treasure. 4,432 americans have died in iraq. 2,353 americans have died in afghanistan. 51 of those my fellow
oklahomans in afghanistan. 72 of those my fellow oklahomans in iraq. today i pulled out of my closet a specific tie that i rarely wear, but it was a tie given to me by a goldstar wife who never ever wanted to be a goldstar wife. she just wanted to be the wife of chris horton, who she intensely loved. who went to afghanistan to serve his country in the oklahoma national guard and died for our freedom. and two years later, she handed me this tie and said, he hated wearing ties, but you have to wear them all the time. just remember him. we as americans will not forgot and we have not forgotten.
there are flags out all over america today, just to remember. there are moms and dads that really hug their kids tight this morning before they left for school and the kids didn't even know why. they just did. and there are places that are gathering to be able to pray for peace because as a nation, we are a nation of peace and we have no desire for war. in fact, we detest the main -- pain and penalty and loss of war and we have no desire to be at war across the world, but it came to us and we look forward to the day when the guns are silent again and this finally concludes and a time of peace can be restored again. today though we're just a nation remembering and praying for that time of peace that will come, and telling families, goldstar families,
families that sent their loved ones around the world to places they have never seen before, we have not forgotten and together we serve as a nation. with that i yield back. >> mr. president. >> senator from illinois. >> mr. president let me say in the outset let me join in the sentiment expressed by the senator of oklahoma and in remembering the historical significance. there's hope that when it comes to this nation and its values and brings it together is a powerful force and today it's a force of memory, the force of promise, the force of the future of this country. i want to salute my colleagues, particularly my friend from oklahoma for his moving statement about families in his state touched by this tragedy.
>> the senator from maine. >> mr. president, earlier today we paused and commemorated those who lost their lives on september 11th, 2001. 18 years have passed, but the memory of that day remains as vivid as if it were yesterday. we each have our own recollections of where we were and what we were doing as the horrifying terrorist attacks on our country began to unfold. i remember having the television on and watching a report that a plane originally reported as a small plane, had struck one of the twin towers.
i then shortly thereafter saw the second aircraft strike the world trade center. it was then that i knew that our country was under attack. i told my staff to stay away from the capitol building because i feared that it, too, could be a target. today we all still share the powerful emotions of shock and anger and grief. i was worried not only about my staff, those in the buildings, but also staff members that i had who were on their way back from portland, maine which turns out to be where some of the terrorists began their journey of death and
destruction that day. on the evening of that terrible day members of congress gathered together on the steps of the u.s. capitol with tears in our eyes and sorrow in our hearts, together we sang "god bless america" the emotions of shock, anger and grief were joined by unity, resolve, and patriotism. that sense that swept over us as we sang was the source of strength and the challenges that we faced in the fight against terrorism. so many were killed that horrific day. in my state of maine, reremembremember
robert and jackie, a devoted retired couple who boarded flight 11 to celebrate a son's wedding on the west coast. we remember james rowe of portland, an army veteran and a devoted father on his way to a business meeting in california. we remember robert slagel who was celebrating his recent promotion to the rank of commander in the united states navy and was still settling into his new office at the pentagon when the plane struck. we remember steven ward of gorham, who was working on the 101st floor of the north tower that terrible morning. on this solemn anniversary, we join all americans in
remembering the nearly 3000 people who lost their lives that day, lives of accomplishment, contribution, and promise. each lost wounded hearts of family and friends who can never be fully healed and we honor the heroes of that day. we still are moved by the selfless courage of men and women on flight 93 who wrestled that plane to the ground in pennsylvania, sacrificing their lives so that others might live. we are inspired by the firefighters, e.m.s. personnel and police officers at the
world trade center who continued to climb upwards to rescue those who were in peril even as the twin towers were tumbling down. the new york city fire department alone lost 343 firefighters who responded to the attacks. we pay tribute today and every day to the first responders, the military personnel, the civilians who rushed into the smoke and flames at the pentagon to lead others to safety. we express our gratitude to those who have given so much to defend our nation against terrorism, the men and women of our armed forces. while millions of americans
watched in horror as the tragedy unfolded on that terrible day, thousands of courageous first responders who rushed to the world trade center, who rushed to that field in pennsylvania, who rushed to the pentagon to help search for victims and to help bring anyone they could to safety. still inspires us. they put themselves in imminent danger to save the lives of others and later on,years later, we learned that the toxic dust and debris that many were exposed to have caused chronic illnesses. the overwhelming bipartisan vote here in the senate in july
to reauthorize permanently the 9/11 victim compensation fund ensures that those first responders who risked their lives to save their fellow americans will always be supported and their illnesses treated. september 11th was the day of personal tragedy for so many families. it was also a attan attack on t united states of america and an assault on civilization. we must never forget what was lost and what remains at stake. we must continue our pledge, the pledge that we made that
horrific day to do all that we can to prevent future attacks. the fundamental obligation of government is to protect its people. since september 11th, 2001, we have done much to meet that obligation, but more work remains. in the aftermath of those attacks, former senator from connectic connecticut joe lieberman and i, the leaders of the senate homeland security committee, worked in a bipartisan way with the leaders of the 9/11 commission and the families of those who were lost to terrorist attacks on that day, to pass the most sweeping reform of our intelligence community since world war ii.
it is significant that the intelligence reform and terrorist and prevention act passed the senate by a vote of 96-2. and that with the hundreds of amendments that were considered not a single one was decided by a party line vote. it's what seemed like a moment. september 11, 2001 was transformed from a day like any other into one that forever will stand alone. the loss we relived reminds us of the value of all we must protect. the heroism reminds us of the unconquerable spirit of the american people. our accomplishments remind us
that we can meet any challenge. as long as we keep this day of remembrance in our hearts, we shall meet the challenges that lie ahead. mr. president, i yield the floor. >> thank you, mr. president. i so enjoyed listening to my colleagues as they talked about the issues that are important to them, and to the state that they represent. it is, indeed, one of those privileges that we in this body enjoy, and many times we take it for granted but today as a day of remembrance is a day that we look back and say we ought not to take it for granted because there are many in this world who would threaten our freedoms and our liberties.