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Governor Dayton’s statement in remembrance of 9/11

September 08, 2011
Flags to be flown at half-staff in observance of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 attacks
   
Saint Paul –In observance of the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Governor Mark Dayton will be ordering all U.S. and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings in the State of Minnesota, from sunrise until sunset on Sunday, September 11, 2011.
 
Individuals, businesses and other organizations are also encouraged to lower their flags in observance of the anniversary on Sunday, September 11, 2011.
 
Schools around the state are encouraged to observe the anniversary with a moment of silence on Friday, September 9, 2011, at the time of their choosing.
 
Governor Dayton also released the following statement, in remembrance of 9/11: 
 
“September 11, 2001 began as a warm, sunny day in Washington DC, where I worked as a United States Senator.  I arrived at my office in the Russell Senate Office Building, right across the street from the Capitol, just after the first World Trade Tower had been struck by an unidentified aircraft.  My staff and I watched on television, as flames and smoke began to erupt from the building, and we discussed how such a terrible accident could occur.
 
“Suddenly, we saw another plane circle the second World Trade Tower and crash into it.  In that moment of unspeakable horror, we realized that this was no accident.
 
“Shortly thereafter, a third plane struck the Pentagon, which we could see from the windows of our office building.  Moments later, warning sirens sounded throughout the Capitol complex, and we were told to evacuate our offices.  There were no other instructions or formal communications from anyone.  Frightened pedestrians and gridlocked traffic filled the streets outside.
 
“At the time, I lived in a hotel nearby the Capitol, so I returned there.  In the lobby I encountered the General Manager, who invited me to go onto the hotel’s roof with her.
 
“As we stood there, twelve stories above the ground, Washington was strangely quiet.  There was not a cloud, plane, or helicopter to be seen anywhere.  The clear blue sky was, however, rapidly being filled by a mushroom cloud of thick, black smoke pouring from the Pentagon.
 
“The eerie silence was suddenly shattered by two F-16 fighter planes flying very low, down the Mall, past the Washington Monument, and just over the top of the Capitol Building.  They were belatedly trying to intercept the fourth hijacked plane, which instead was heroically brought down by its passengers, led by Minnesota native Thomas Burnet, Jr.  Their unimaginable courage stopped the hijackers from crashing the plane into the US Capitol, which would have murdered and maimed many more innocent Americans.
 
“As I stood on that rooftop, I kept telling myself to wake up.  Everything happening was so incredible that I must be dreaming.  At the same time, however, I knew this terrible nightmare was all too real.  I have prayed many times that that I will never experience it again.  I pray that our country will never experience it again.
 
“In the early evening of 9/11, I joined about sixty other Members of Congress on the steps of the Capitol.  As we stood together, we were not Republicans or Democrats; we were Americans.  We stood together to show the murdering terrorists, the rest of the world, and our fellow Americans that our government remained intact and our elected leaders were united and resolute.
 
“As the speeches ended, someone began singing “God Bless America,” and we all joined in.  I still get shivers, whenever I hear that song.  It reminds me that, whatever our differences, we all do love our country, and that we are so fortunate to live in the most extraordinary democracy the world has ever known.
 
“9/11 taught me, however, that despite our nation’s economic and military pre-eminence, we are not invulnerable.  A small number of murderous fanatics were able to do that day what no foreign power had accomplished since Pearl Harbor: to attack, kill, and injure thousands of innocent Americans on our own soil.
 
“Therefore, military might, while essential, is not enough by itself to assure our safety.  We need constructive relations with other nations and their citizens throughout the world.  We need friends and allies everywhere, who will alert us when they become aware of suspicious terrorist activities; rather than waiting and then cheering after they are inflicted upon us.
 
“We need to be the best leader the world has ever known.  A leader that the rest of the world respects, admires, and wishes to befriend.  Therein lies our security … and theirs.”