On this day, we mark the 12th anniversary of the terror attacks that claimed thousands of lives and left an indelible mark on all of us who were alive to witness the tragedy and its aftermath.

Today we honor the lives of those who were killed and the families who loved them.  We also honor the first responders who were so brave – many of them sacrificing their own lives to save others.

On an anniversary such as this, it serves as a reminder that on that day, and for some time after, we were not Republicans or Democrats or Independents but Americans, all of us united in grief and outrage but also united in strength and perseverance.

We mark today for our children and anyone who was not alive to witness.  Not simply as a painful reminder of what was done to us, but because how we stood together during and after says so much about who we are – who we must continue to be – what it truly means to be American.