I remember that September 11 was on a Tuesday 17 years ago; Cabinet meetings were always on Tuesdays and I was heading there when I heard the fateful news. For many, Patriot Day (the commemorative designation given to September 11) means little. Yes, they may recall what happened in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania, but they don’t feel it. This is unfortunate as America could use a dose of the patriotism that the heinous acts of terrorists inspired.

I was moved by September 11 in ways that are hard for me to describe. I went to see the site in November 2001 while portions of the rubble were still being removed. I have been to the Memorial Museum and seen the artifacts that bring the tragedy to life. I saw the musical Come from Away and was reminded of the blessings that occurred by strangers on that day.

But for those of you that don’t have a visceral connection, I urge you to listen to the 3-minute Story Corps account by Joe Dittmar. Story Corps is collecting first-person recordings from those who were there as a way to preserve our history and share the story with others. Joe recalls what it was like being in the Twin Towers – and what it was like coming home.

Today may you all remember that America is our home and treat those around you with the compassion that being home entails.

Never forget.

North Pool, National September 11 Memorial Museum

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