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Today, we join together as a State, and as a nation, to pray for the victims who were lost on one of the darkest days in American history.
We pray for the children who will go to bed this evening without their mothers and fathers. We pray for the mothers and fathers who've lost the children they loved. We pray for the husbands and wives who will return to empty homes. We pray for the firefighters, police officers and rescue workers who died while committing extraordinary acts of heroism.
We pray, also, for this great nation of ours, a nation that is free, a nation that is strong, a nation that is united in grief. For we know that the freedom we so cherish as Americans for which hundreds of thousands of Americans have sacrificed their lives exposes us to the wicked, the murderous, the cowardly forces of hate.
December 7th will always be known as a "Day of Infamy." So, too, September 11th, from henceforth, will be known as the day a dark cloud descended across America. But clouds always pass. The sun always breaks through. And we know as Americans that God's light will again shine across this land, and that our free and strong people will prevail.
The forces of evil that committed this atrocity have caused pain that will last for generations, pain that has claimed the lives of innocent men, women and children. But evil never prevails. Freedom, despite its vulnerabilities, will always prevail.
And I am confident that President Bush and a united American Congress will strike back -- swiftly and strongly -- against the forces of terror and the nations that harbor them. We will stand with the President in those actions.
New Yorkers have always stood strong, firm and together in times of crisis and human hardship. Already, we've seen the extraordinary heroism of our firefighters, police officers, rescue workers, and everyday citizens. We've seen the indomitable spirit of New Yorkers, pulling together to overcome the most horrendous, destructive and murderous act of terrorism in history.
We owe a deep debt of gratitude for the heroism of the thousands who have been risking and continue to risk their lives to help with the relief effort. We thank President Bush for the extraordinary aid he has provided. And we owe profound thanks to Mayor Giuliani and his team for the tremendous leadership they have shown.
This crisis has tested and will continue to test the resolve and the resilience of New Yorkers like never before. But ultimately, the courageous and resilient spirit of our people will prevail over this cowardly act of hatred.
Yesterday I was at Bellevue Hospital visiting injured firefighters. I stood at the bedside of a Lieutenant, thanked him for his courage, and told him he was a hero. And he smiled and said, in a thick New York accent: "What'd you expect? I'm a New Yorker." But then the smile left his face as he spoke about his partner, who was missing. With tears in his eyes, he told me his partner was the father of ten children.
I told him that those children will not be alone. We will stand with them. We will stand with all of these heroes, and we will stand with the children and family members they left behind. We will walk alongside them during this difficult time in their lives.
They are now a part of us. They will be a part of New York, and America, forever.
The people of this State are united as never before.
I've seen New Yorkers lined up for blocks, waiting to donate blood at Cabrini Hospital. I asked one woman why she was there and she said "I have to be here." I've seen injured firefighters at St. Vincent's, begging to leave their hospital beds, so they could rejoin their comrades in the rescue effort. All across our State, people are volunteering to help however and wherever they can. In this time of crisis, we can draw strength from that spirit of unity, and from the compassion of our people.
There is nothing we cannot accomplish when we are united behind a common purpose. It is that common purpose that brings us here today. For today, the issues that occasionally divide us seem small. Today, we are united in our commitment to rebuild our great City and to rekindle the spirit of our people.
And because we are unified, I know we will be unanimous in the action we take today to help put this crisis behind us.
Make no mistake: We will not just survive this disaster. Nor will we simply overcome it. We, the people of New York, will join together, united in strength, and lift New York to its greatest day.
We face a long and difficult road. But we face it together.
These unspeakable acts have shattered our City and shocked our nation. But they have not weakened the bonds that unite us as New Yorkers, and as Americans as those who love freedom and, ultimately, as those who love one another.
Our strength will defeat this evil. Our spirit will overcome this atrocity. And, together, this land of the people, and by the people, will soar higher than even our beloved twin towers.
Thank you. God bless the great people of New York. And God bless America.
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