Camp Ethan Allen, Jericho, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today participated in the Vermont National Guard’s 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, where he reflected on the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks on our nation.
“We’re here to reflect on a dark day in American history, which shook the very foundation of our nation – an act of terrorism that took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans, injured thousands more, and left scars on the hearts and minds of millions,” said Governor Scott. “Like me, I’m sure you will never forget where you were, what you were doing, or how you felt, as we watched in terror the devastation caused by the acts of evil men. Nor will we ever forget the unity of our nation, the service – and sacrifice – of those who answered the call that day, and every day in the two decades since.”
Governor Scott also issued a proclamation, declaring Saturday Patriot Day in Vermont, in remembrance of the anniversary. He urged Vermonters to recapture the spirit of unity we felt twenty years ago by displaying the American flag across the state, like so many did following the attacks two decades ago.
A transcript of the Governors remarks at Camp Ethan Allen can be found below:
Governor Scott: Good morning. It’s truly an honor to be here with both current and former members of the National Guard, your families, and Vermonters who’ve been strong supporters of the Guard over the years.
We’re here to reflect on a dark day in American history, which shook the very foundation of our nation. An act of terrorism that took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans, injured thousands more, and left scars on the hearts and minds of millions.
Like me, I’m sure you will never forget where you were, what you were doing, or how you felt as we watched in terror the devastation caused by the acts of evil men.
Nor will we ever forget the unity of our nation, the service and sacrifice of those who answered the call that day, and every day in the two decades since.
The first responders who rushed to help get people out.
The good Samaritans, selflessly running towards danger to help people they’d never even met.
We’ll never forget the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who, knew exactly what they faced, and took action anyway, saving thousands of lives and preventing untold destruction.
We remember the number of nations around the world uniting in support.
And we honor the brave men and women who served in the War on Terror that followed.
That day, twenty years ago, we were attacked because of the freedom we represent – a nation where every citizen, regardless of their gender, race, or religion, can participate in their government.
And although we’re far from perfect and have to work every day to be “a more perfect union,” we were attacked because we believe in human rights, in equal rights, and in justice.
Our enemies thought, incorrectly, that such a blow would break our will and weaken our commitment to these values that we hold dear.
They were wrong.
And for 20 years, we’ve reminded them just how wrong they were.
Every day since September 11, 2001, our servicemen and women have been on the front lines, defending our homeland, by bringing the fight to the enemy and crippling Al Qaeda’s ability to attack America and our allies.
We’ve proven time and time again that there is no challenge we can’t meet, and we will face, fight and defeat any enemy who attacks us here at home.
It was a proud moment for me personally to see F-16s flown by Vermonters helping to secure the skies, within hours of the attack.
In the two decades that have followed, thousands of Vermonters, members of the Guard, along with enlisted men and women, served overseas across many deployments and made enormous sacrifices.
There’s no doubt we’ve lost too many Vermonters – family, friends, neighbors and role models – in the War on Terror.
But let me assure you, they did not die in vain.
Their service and sacrifice kept America safe.
Because of them, Al Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden, was diminished and most of its leaders removed from this Earth.
Thankfully, since then, there hasn’t been another 9/11, because our anti-terrorism operations are better and stronger than ever before.
This was our primary mission. And it was accomplished.
While we all would have preferred a different outcome when combat operations in Afghanistan ended, it’s important to remember the service and sacrifices of the American people had value.
As history teaches us, freedom is never forgotten by those who have known it, and then lost it.
Today, all across Afghanistan, there are young women and men who got a taste of that freedom and will remember.
Imagine that young Afghan girl who got to go to school for the first time and saw America’s female warriors fighting alongside the men for her future and the future of her children, family, and way of life.
Imagine the impact of that and how it will be passed on to so many more for generations to come.
Those images of courage and sacrifice are incredibly powerful, because it represents the very best of our values, and gives Afghans hope and a path forward.
Again, we all would prefer to have left a fully stable nation but there is still important work that was accomplished, important lessons taught, and important values defined.
These young women and young men will be the freedom fighters of the future, the ones we hope and pray will fulfill the promise of a free and democratic society. A future that because of our efforts and sacrifice is still well within reach of the people of Afghanistan.
So, I want to say again, no one who served in America’s longest war did so in vain.
They kept us safe here at home, they fought to advance freedom, and they inspired those who will continue to fight for a better way of life in a part of the world where it’s desperately needed.
We must always remember these achievements and the service and sacrifices that made them possible, just as we must remember those who we lost on that warm September day in 2001.
So, as we reflect on this day in history, the acts of heroism, the resolve and resilience of America, and the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the hours and years that followed, let’s remember why we united, why we took action, and what we achieved.
Thank you all for being here today. And thank you to all who served, and those who serve today.