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Speeches & Remarks

Remarks of OPM Director John Berry

September 11 Remembrance

TRB E Street Lobby

September 9, 2011

This Sunday 10 years ago, America was attacked. Today, we pause to reflect and remember, together. Nearly three thousand people died that day, Americans and others, including 69 members of our Federal family. At this time ten years ago, the twin towers were in flames. Our fellow public servants, New York's bravest, were heading towards the fire, many to their deaths.

Scripture says there is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for another.

At 9:37, the Pentagon was hit, just 1.7 miles from where we stand.

It is 9:37 now. Please join me in a moment of silence of 69 seconds, one for each colleague lost in our Federal family that day.


The aftermath of 9/11 was a moment of unity - for Americans and for that great reach of humanity that believes, as we believe, in tolerance of all people and respect for human dignity.

We gather today to reaffirm those values.

We've reorganized our government to keep our country and our world safe for those values, and we're thankful for the men and women in uniform, and all the Federal civilians, who keep us safe - intelligence agents, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, TSA officers, and the family of staffers who support them - HR, IT, accounting, and many others. Together, they are part of the extra-ordinary experiment in freedom, self-governance, and service to others that we call America.

As President Lincoln reminded us at Gettysburg, it is the efforts of those, living and dead, who pursue a noble cause, that consecrates a place and time. The world will little note what we say in their memory, but long remember the bright cause they cared for, and what we do to carry their flame forward.

Nowhere is it set in stone that the Constitution will endure forever. It endures because it is carved in something far more enduring than stone… the hearts of every American.

Together, hearts strong and true, we the people keep its noble purpose and aim alive, so that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from this earth.

Thank you each for your service, God bless you, God bless the victims of 9-11 and bring peace to all who mourn them, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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