WASHINGTON, DC – In a U.S. Capitol ceremony today, leaders of the House and Senate honored the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 by presenting a Congressional Gold Medal to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, NY, the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, PA, and the National Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in Arlington, VA. Following are House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) remarks opening the ceremony, as prepared for delivery:
“Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome to the United States Capitol.
“Tomorrow, at 8:46 a.m., the Capitol will join the nation in a moment of silent tribute to those we lost on September 11th, 2001.
“It is one of many such moments, silent or otherwise. They come by instinct now. We stand taller for the colors. The hand is steadier on the heart. A prayer is felt, not just said. We pull together when we might not have.
“This is the response of a people who share a stubborn belief in each other. A search to grasp whatever it was in the character of those men and women, who, leaving life at its peak, thought of others before themselves.
“Tomorrow, we mourn for what was taken. Today, we consider what was left behind: stories we tell and re-tell, a legacy we strive to claim, and families we ache to serve.
“Many of those loved ones are with us. Please join me in welcoming them.
“All that we Americans are – all we will ever be – we owe to the Fallen Heroes of 9/11.
“That day was made up of many sacrifices, from which emerged one spirit – a unity embodied in the Medal we entrust today to each memorial.
“Since our earliest days, Congress has awarded Gold Medals in recognition of extraordinary deeds. Among the first recipients were George Washington, John Paul Jones, and Andrew Jackson. To this day, there is no higher honor we can bestow.
“This is the first time the Medal has been given in honor of so many fallen innocents. And we pray it is the last time. That, more than anything, is why we do this.
“Because the most stirring, lasting tribute of all is for we who remain never to forget and never to rest until our work is done.
“Thank you all for being here.”