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Dear West Virginians,

Today makes 17 years since our country, our families and our sense of security as a nation were attacked by terrorists. I still remember the anger I felt standing in Fort Polk, Louisiana as I watched the towers fall on a small 4×4 black and white television. I was a Captain in the U.S. Army and immediately I knew that our lives were about to change forever. I can still remember the way it felt when I heard the words, “we are under attack”.

It’s been nearly 20 years since that day when as a country, we mourned together, cried together and seared with anger together. We held hands in prayer and called our loved ones. We held our children a little tighter and some of us had to have hard talks with our children about the unbelievable evil in the world. But we also told our children about how lucky we were to live in such an amazing country. We told them about what it meant to be from America, a country that stands as a beacon of hope and a resilient force in the world.

We watched as first responders and family members and communities joined together in strength and service to help their fellow Americans. What a sight to see – America standing together as one, that shining beacon, in the face of evil. That is the true spirit of America. It is the true spirit of her people. We are together. We are one. And we will always overcome.

As a result of 9/11, I spent the next 13 years of my life fighting the war on terror and I served alongside the bravest men and women I have ever met. We knew we were going to stand in the face of the very evil that brought terror to our soil and yet the love for this country, her people and the ideals that make us all Americans were worth it.

Today, let’s remember to honor the victims of 9/11 and their families and let’s remember the first responders, our great military and our veterans.

God Bless America and God Bless West Virginia