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Nearly ten years ago, Americans looked on in horror as the events of September 11, 2001 unfolded. At the end of the day the skyline of one of our greatest cities was forever changed, the Pentagon, a symbol of America’s military strength was still smoldering, and a previously indistinguishable field in western Pennsylvania had suddenly and terribly become an unmarked grave for America’s newest heroes.
The landscape of our nation was not the only thing that changed that day. The American people were forever changed, with the horrific images of that day indelibly marked on our conscience and our sense of safety and security shaken. We were unified as Americans in our shock and grief, and we were unified in our resolve to bring those responsible to justice, in particular al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks that took the lives of more than 3,000 American men, women and children.
Since then, America has pursued justice. In defense of freedom, we have embarked on an international campaign to combat an ideology that spreads hate and destruction. Our military forces and intelligence community have worked tirelessly and vigilantly over the last decade to defeat those who intend to do us harm through acts of terror.
On Sunday night, that vigilance paid off as the world learned that an elite U.S. military team had successfully killed Osama bin Laden following years of information-gathering by our intelligence community that led to bin Laden’s secret compound in Pakistan. The courageous team of Navy Seals based in Virginia who executed the mission that brought bin Laden to justice, did so at considerable risk to their own personal safety.
The brave men and women of our military and intelligence community work hard day in and day out to preserve our security and deserve our gratitude for accomplishing this dangerous mission. Without their dedication to the mission and their resolve to track Osama bin Laden, this victory would not have been accomplished.
Despite this success, we continue to face a dangerous threat today. As long as terrorists are still free to slaughter the innocent, our work will not be done. Terrorism is not limited to any location, population or way of life and these people, who have so little regard for human life, must be hunted down and brought to justice no matter where they are in the world.
As we mark this important milestone in the war against terrorism, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those Americans whose lives have been forever changed by the events of September 11, 2001. We must remember that every disaster brings heartache, but with it also comes bravery and a strengthened resolve. Ultimately, in order for us to triumph in this global war we must not relent. We must continue to confront the root of this evil, and sow the seeds of freedom.