This past Sunday Americans all across the country came together to remember the terrible tragedy that befell our nation on September 11, 2001. On this tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, we honored those who lost their lives and celebrated our values of freedom and democracy — ideals that the terrorists sought to undermine.
It has been a difficult ten years for our country. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost thousands of American lives. The great recession dealt a blow to the economy, and many families are still struggling to make ends meet. Our political system seems incapable of serving the country’s best interest. The challenges we face at home and abroad have sapped some of our optimism and confidence.
As we mark this tenth anniversary, we should seize the opportunity to renew the spirit of solidarity and unity that we enjoyed in the aftermath of 9/11. This anniversary should remind us, as Governor Deval Patrick has said, that “being in a community is understanding the stake we have in each other.”
Immediately following the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania, people from all walks of life joined together to help each other through what felt like an impossibly difficult time. We recognized that this tragedy was not limited to those who died and their families and friends. Rather, it was a tragedy that befell our entire nation, and we were all responsible for working together to recover from the devastation. To do this, we set aside our differences and focused instead on what makes us all proud to be Americans.
Renewing this spirit of solidarity will enable us to tackle the challenges facing our state and country with a sense of shared purpose and commitment to the public good. Together, I hope we will work to:
- Create economic opportunity for all Americans. The United States is the richest nation on earth, yet we have levels of income inequality greater than developing countries like China, India, Egypt and Nigeria. This should be cause for deep concern for all Americans, rich and poor alike. A vibrant democracy with a prosperous economy depends on a secure middle class whose workers can earn a living wage with decent benefits, send their children to college, and one day retire with dignity. We need to revitalize the American dream so that all Americans have the opportunity to realize their full potential.
- Provide every child with access to a quality education. In the global economy of the 21st century, education determines the winners and the losers. We need all of our children to receive a high-quality education so that our workforce continues to be the most innovative and competitive in the world.
- Care for those in need. When our neighbors are sick, disabled, too frail to care for themselves, or struggling to survive, we must be there to lend a helping hand. We also need to treat healthcare as a basic human right, not as a luxury that only some people can afford.
- Build a more sustainable world for future generations. Environmental health, human health, and sustainable economic growth are integrally connected. This means we must preserve our dwindling natural resources and embrace clean energy to power the future.
- Promote human rights and social justice. America was founded on the fundamental notion that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. When we encourage tolerance and appreciate diversity, we create stronger, more vibrant communities. We also benefit from a richer pool of human talent, which is essential to our economic success.
By pursuing these worthy goals together, we will repudiate the dark vision of the terrorists who brutally attacked us. And, we will continue to lead the world to a brighter future for all people.
Rep. Jason Lewis