September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
Congressional Record Senate - Terrorist Attacks Against the United States (continued); September 13, 2001


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Mr. CHAFEE. Madam President, I stand before my fellow Senators in full support of the resolution on which we voted yesterday. A stunned world and Nation is struggling to come to grips with the horrifying violence of September 11, 2001. I support the President's efforts to marshal the resources of our intelligence, law enforcement, diplomatic, and military apparatus to bring about justice and to do so as swiftly as possible.

I call on any nation known to be harboring terrorists to fully cooperate with the United States and stem the rising tide of conflict. I believe people around the world are in equal measure demanding justice for these horrendous crimes and anxious for the world to settle its disputes in a rational and civilized manner.

We must cling to the hope that this is possible, even while we recognize that on this Earth there exists people capable of unbelievable barbarism. This is a time of overwhelming sadness, and I join my colleagues in support of S.J. Res. 22.

Madam President, I yield the floor.

Mrs. HUTCHISON. Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

Mr. BURNS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. BURNS. Madam President, I assume we are still in morning business and offering statements with regard to the incidents of Tuesday.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is correct.

Mr. BURNS. Madam President, ironically, on September 11 of this year, I was involved in a press conference looking at a report card to Congress on the deployment of E-911, the national emergency number. Last year, we passed that bill and the President signed it, with now the deployment of enhanced 911, which tells wireless phone operators that when you dial 911 on your wireless phone, you will get the nearest first responder rather than some other area, maybe your home area, even though you may be in roam, and I do not spell that R-o-m-e.

How ironic that started at 9 o'clock in the morning. It is one of those pieces of legislation that goes unnoticed. Yet it has a lot to do with public safety, especially in rural areas where we rely on wireless. It also nationalizes 911 as the emergency number across the Nation.

I made the statement at that time that we are dealing with a different world. Not only do we have to deal with our own little family emergencies, we also have to deal with this world of terrorism. So 911 and the ability to communicate becomes very

important. As we walked out of that press conference, we were notified that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center in New York.

Not only did I stand still but the world has stood still. We were shocked; we were outraged at an unprovoked act of violence committed against thousands and thousands of innocent Americans.

Immediately, our President and Commander in Chief, George Bush, ordered the Federal Government to assist the victims of the violence, investigate these acts of terror, and to take the steps to bring those responsible for these tragedies to justice.

I fully support the President's actions and will do whatever I can as an individual to help him and our country in this time of need.

Terrorism, which has been condemned around the world, cannot and will not be tolerated in this country. I know the President will take all measures necessary to seek out and to punish those who viciously attacked innocent and defenseless Americans.

We, as Americans, are a strong and resilient people. We will heal, and we will emerge stronger than ever. The strength and spirit of our Republic and the democracy it represents will shine through. We will not simply endure; we shall prevail. And we will send a sharp message to those cowards saying that terrorist acts will not be tolerated or condoned. They will never be able to destroy the spirit of a free people, the freedom we enjoy, and our way of life.

Our thoughts and our prayers go out to those who tragically lost their lives and to those friends and families who lost their loved ones. This is far more than a tragedy to them. It is an outrageous act of terrorism that killed and injured so many innocent and decent citizens of our country. Nothing I can say to express my sympathy for those suffering is enough. My outrage of that cowardly act remains unwavering.

For now, we must mourn those who have passed on and care for those who were injured. We must let the President, our law enforcement people, military, and the intelligence community work. As a law-abiding nation--and we are a nation of laws--we must be sure to place the blame on the guilty. Taking independent action against innocents or guests of our country has to be guarded against.

The anger I feel inside has to be tempered because decisions made while in this state are usually not good decisions. Many are filled with that same anger and an unyielding desire for revenge. I realize we must remain calm and focused. In the heat of passion, fired by outrageous, despicable acts of those who are guilty, our leaders must be calm and dispassionate in determining who is responsible, where they are, and how we must deal with them.

Have no doubt, America, we will find those responsible. I say to those who are responsible: You cannot hide. You can run, but you cannot hide. Justice will be served. It will be swift, and it will be harsh.

September 11,--9-11--2001, will live a long time in the memory of many of us.

I was almost 7 years old on that Sunday, December 7, 1941. I remember that day, and I can remember being a small lad growing up on a farm. My folks talked to each other differently and so did the neighbors on Monday morning, the 8th, than any of us had ever heard before. I can remember when my mother yelled out of the house, because we had an old battery radio and didn't have electricity in those days--Dad and I were in the barn choring. Mother said that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. My dad looked down at me and he said: ``Where is Pearl Harbor?'' We didn't even know. Next, the pictures came out of Pearl Harbor of the bellowing smoke from the Arizona and of the California lying half on its side. It remained in our minds for a long time.

I fear that the pictures of the World Trade Center and the damage done there will live in the minds of young folks as Pearl Harbor did with us. Tuesday's acts represented a well-planned, well-financed attack on our freedom by a faceless, gutless enemy.

I also want to warn the American people that we are at war. It can be called by no other name. So I stand firmly and proudly behind my Commander in Chief, the President of the United States. There is no doubt about our unity and resolve to track down, root out, and relentlessly pursue terrorists and the states that harbor them. I stand by to support our military and intelligence community and will fight for all the resources they need to ensure our national security. Let us not forget this as we consider our funding bills.

What is important and what is not important? We must sift through and search our souls. This is a great nation with a strong and brave history. Americans have come together and triumphed in difficult times such as these. We will do it again, and we will punish those responsible. America remains resolved in its efforts to find those who so cowardly committed these horrific acts.

One always looks for words, but sometimes words escape us. That is kind of bad when words escape an auctioneer. But to quote a few words from the ``Battle Hymn of the Republic,'' those responsible will soon understand the true meaning of this line:

He hath loosed the faithful lightning of his terrible swift sword.

I will tell you, America will do that, indeed, and America will march on.

I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

Mr. NELSON of Florida. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

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The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The Senator from Florida, Mr. NELSON.

Mr. NELSON of Florida. Madam President, I come to the Chamber with a very heavy heart because of the tragedy so many people have experienced. It has touched all of our lives in one way or another. So, too, I have had a personal experience just in the last few minutes of how the tragedy has touched the life of my wife and me, for one of the passengers on the airliner that crashed into the World Trade Center was a personal friend of our family, Sonia Puopolo of Boston and Miami.

I come to the Chamber to share this experience because the grief that so many across this Nation have felt is shared by all of us--of talking to Sonia's husband Dominic and to her daughter Tita, who are so full of life and so upbeat and effervescent, talking to them in this condition where they still have the presence of mind in the midst of their unbelievable grief to be able to remember the good times, and Dominic telling me about the 40-some years he had the privilege of knowing his wife and the 37 years of marriage, where he met her in Puerto Rico and where it was planned he was going to be on the same flight and how she had insisted, no, she was going to Los Angeles so that she could be with their son by herself and enjoy her son since Dominic had already been in Los Angeles with their son.

This is the part of tragedy that puts a human face on the tragedy, but for Florida and Floridians it does not end there. A few minutes thereafter, I spoke by telephone with a courageous Fort Myers policeman, Officer Lyles, who has now gathered with his family in another part of Florida because it was his wife, Cee Cee Lyles, on the airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania, which we now know was headed for Washington and another target, perhaps this building; that she was able to get through to her husband by cell phone and he could hear the screams in the background. She told him they had been hijacked, and she told him she loved him and loved their children.

This is a part of the grieving process that is necessary for us to all go through, but it is also a poignant story of two lives that are touching the State of Florida that gives us even more resolve of why we are going to find the perpetrators, we are going to hunt them down, and they are going to be brought to justice.

I have seen America in this situation--and in my lifetime I have seen it several times--but the one I remember so vividly is the time of national tragedy when the symbol of our technological prowess, the space shuttle Challenger, in January of 1986, exploded in front of our eyes.

I recall that event because there was something from the experience of that tragedy for the American people that was instructive to the rest of the world. That is, that Americans overcome. Americans persevere. When we are knocked down, we are not knocked out; we get up and we respond.

That has happened over and over in our history. It is part of our character as an American people that we overcome. We saw it in the Revolutionary War. We have seen it in every war since. We saw it in the national tragedy of the Challenger explosion, and we are seeing it again in the national tragedy of this terrorist attack.

In the process of overcoming and persevering, we make right that which is wrong. And so, too, the American people are unified in our commitment that we will find the perpetrators and they will be dealt with.

This is not a time for revenge. We are a forgiving people. That is part of our nature. That is part of our Scriptural background. But we are also a proud people who will not let the national reputation be sullied; we will protect it.

I come to the Senate today out of my personal grief, having just had one telephone conversation with a family who is convulsed in grief, and about to have another telephone conversation with another Florida family who is suffering likewise, to say that I don't understand the plan that good people are taken, but I do understand the ultimate plan that we are a nation blessed by God over and over and that God is protecting us. America will not only survive, America will do as she has so often done: America and Americans will overcome.

Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, our national will is being tested as it never has before. On the clear, sunny morning of September 11, we were attacked from out of the shadows. There are no words to fully describe the depth of this infamy. And not enough tears to properly mourn the innocent lives so cruelly taken.

Thousands of families are grieving today over loved ones lost in this senseless attack on our nation and all of us mourn with them and keep them in our prayers.

But from within the depths of this horror, we saw and honor the heroism of our police and firefighters, many of whom gave their lives trying to rescue others. We thank them and offer our condolences to those who lost a loved one in the line of duty. We also offer our thanks to all the medical workers who are working tirelessly trying to save lives.

While our enemy is still uncertain, our resolve must be unflinching. Those who thought they could bring us to our knees must instead see us standing tall, united, and resolved to see that justice is done.

We stand firmly behind President Bush and his diplomatic and military efforts to discover who is behind these attacks and hold them accountable. The United States will respond decisively and forcefully against those who have perpetrated this atrocity and those who offer them safe harbor and assistance.

I am also outraged by reports of price gouging at gasoline stations around the Nation. Those who would profit in our time of grief are not only contemptible; in Michigan they are also criminals. The Michigan Attorney General has asked me to direct complaints to their regional offices.

Our Nation will come through this crisis even stronger than before. Those who attack from the shadows will see that we do not surrender to fear, but rather will go forward united in steely purpose and iron resolve. Even as we mourn, it is important that we carry on with the nation's business, with the immediate priority being to get help to the families and communities that were the victims of this horrendous attack.

Mr. JEFFORDS. Mr. President, the tragedy that has befallen America is only just beginning to fully sink in. The horror is so unimaginable, the devastation so great and the suffering it leaves in its wake is almost beyond our comprehension. We feel we have all, personally, been dealt a great blow, no matter where we live, whether or not we knew any of the victims. Our hearts go out to the many, many families who are suffering, and in a very real sense, we feel as if we are one family together today.

As chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency--FEMA--I pledge the full support of the committee to the relief effort. I would like to read the text of a letter that my committee sent to the President today:

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: We are writing to commend you and the Administration for the Federal Government's response to the horrific terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. In particular, we are encouraged and impressed by the organization and coordination at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

We and our staff stand ready to assist you in your efforts in any way, including making any immediate changes to statutes or program funding levels within the Committee's jurisdiction that are necessary to implement measures to save lives and restore safety and order as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your resolve and determination.

Sincerely, Members of the Committee of Environment and Public Works.

Of the thousands of people working in the World Trade Center complex, 2,600 are Federal employees, working for a variety of Federal agencies. The General Services Administration is working diligently to find temporary office space so that these employees may get back to work as soon as possible.

America picks up and goes on. We are shaken but we are not bowed. We are also comforted by the stories of great heroism that come flooding out of this tragedy, the stories of people going back for friends, office workers carrying disabled colleagues down 80 flights of stairs, firefighters and police rushing up the stricken towers in their frantic effort to save lives. Still today,

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we are watching rescue workers who have not slept in 2 days, continuing to dig through the rubble, exposing themselves to great hazards, running on adrenaline from the news that three people were just found alive today.

As more information comes to light, we are seeing a picture emerge of another great act of heroism--the crashing of United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. From what we can glean from phone calls from passengers on that flight, realizing that the hijackers planned to crash their plane and learning that two hijacked planes had just crashed into the World Trade Center, passengers decided to take action. We can only surmise from their last words to family members that several passengers confronted the hijackers and the plane was prevented from completing its mission. It is unlikely that we will know for sure what target the hijackers had in mind, but we can be fairly certain that brave passengers saved the lives of many hundreds or even thousands of people, and maybe even our own lives. I believe that all of America should be deeply grateful to them and their courage in the face of death.

America has closed ranks behind its President and its people. I am also very pleased that so many of our allies have closed ranks behind us. Yesterday, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization--NATO--for the first time in its 52-year history, invoked collective defense arrangements under Article 5 of its Charter that states that an attack upon one member of the alliance is viewed as an attack upon all. This reiteration of NATO solidarity is unprecedented and will be most helpful in formulating a unified response. Condolences and offers of assistance have poured in from all regions of the world, giving us heart as we focus on the task ahead of us.

Fighting terrorism is an exceedingly difficult task. It will take applying ourselves in a way we have never done before. Ferreting out terrorists and destroying their networks will be long and arduous work. It will require a concerted international effort and potentially great patience. We will need the strong cooperation of our allies, and we will need to reach out to nations that are not our traditional allies. Fighting terrorism is usually a frustrating task, as targets are elusive and the means of terror difficult to control. We still hope to learn a great deal more about the perpetrators of this tragedy and uncover those who helped them. I expect that we will take firm action in retaliation. But this may take time, and it must be done in a manner that will not unnecessarily provoke reprisals or generate additional acts of terrorism. I am confident that American resolve will remain firm no matter how long or how difficult this fight.

In closing, I would like to recognize the contributions to the relief effort from my small State of Vermont. The Vermont Air Guard has already flown many hours of additional missions as part of the effort to maintain security over American airspace. Vermont doctors, nurses, firefighters, and rescue workers have volunteered in great numbers to help. All over the State, people have lined up to give blood. True to their history, Vermonters are quick to offer their help.

I see this strength replicated all across America. This makes me, and all Americans, proud.


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