On the 17th anniversary of 9/11

On this, the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Somerset County, Pa., and on the United States as a whole, we reflect on our painful past, but are grateful for how much our nation has accomplished in the face of tragedy.

It is painful to remember that day, and it will always be painful. But let us not forget the stories of heroism, courage and bravery that reflect the very core of what it means to be American.

Let us never forget the first responders who saved lives in New York City and Washington D.C., or the group of courageous passengers who saved lives by fighting back on that plane that crashed in Somerset County. Were it not for them, the loss could have been much worse.

The actions of our soldiers, firefighters, EMTs and police officers are courageous.

Today, we reflect on what now is the most somber occasion for our nation. We also mark this occasion by sharing not only in our grief, but in our patriotism and overwhelming pride for our country. Today is a date that will always be sacred in America.

Our backgrounds and our lives may differ greatly, but there is a common thread that holds us all together and connects us on a very deep level; that is that this country has shaped those lives, this country has affords us all opportunities and allowed many of us to see our dreams and the dreams of our children come true. That common thread is that we all take pride in our country and its people.