Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th Remembrance Ceremony

As the country takes a collective moment to remember the tragedy and honor the heroism that took place on a bright, crisp morning five years ago, I joined my colleagues on the City Council, Mayor Villaraigosa, Governor Schwarzenegger, and members of the LAPD and LAFD in paying tribute to those that lost their lives on September 11th, 2001. What follows is an excerpt of the remarks that I made while attending Los Angeles' September 11th Remembrance Ceremony at the Fire Department's Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center.

Delivering the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln observed that he could say nothing that would hallow any further the ground where so many had given their lives. "We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain," he said. Let that spirit guide our remembrance of those who died on September 11, 2001.

Our work is not to make this day seem holy: those who gave their lives have done that for us. Our work is to draw from their sacrifice and from their suffering. Our work is to invest our lives with worthy meaning, to give to our friends and our family with a nobler spirit that we have done, to give to our neighbors and to our city with higher aims that we have had.

Over and over, we have told ourselves that everything changed on that day. Today, let us take a lesson from that which did not change but was revealed. We saw the bravery and selflessness of first responders, police officers and fire fighters who rushed into buildings whose collapse would—and did—bury them. Ordinary citizens helped each other with a spirit that defies those who believe ours is a dissipated age. On United Flight 93, men and women who did not know each other, some from our own city, fought back together against terror.

In my district, the Hollywood Beautification Team has pledged to plant 3000 trees for the fallen civilians and first responders of September 11th. From this example, let us too give life back to our families, to our city, and to our world.