Chief Neuhard's Remarks

Sept. 11, 2005

Good evening, thank you all for taking the time to join us this evening.

It’s an honor and privilege to be here, particularly as we reflect on our fellow Americans who have lost so much in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We hope that our help and generosity will see them through the tough and difficult days that lie ahead.

Chief Neuhard delivers remarks
Fire Chief Michael Neuhard delivers remarks on Sept. 11, 2005. (Photo/Fairfax County)

It is just and appropriate that we gather here today in this beautiful setting to focus our undivided attention and thoughts on the events of Sept. 11, 2001. As we think back to that day, and those days immediately following, it brings back the full and stark reality of a time and of places that will never be forgotten by all those who lived through that dark day, and the days that followed.

As we reflect and relive those tragic hours and days, we should think back on how this event changed our lives and the lives of all Americans.

When I reflect on that day, I always think of courage. Courage in its purest form –spontaneous, unselfish, uncompromising.

The courage of all of those that lost their lives: citizens, first responders, soldiers, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.

The courage of those that fought the attackers high in the skies over Pennsylvania that ensured others would live.

The courage of those often forgotten who struggled to overcome horrific injuries sustained during the attack

And finally, the courage of all of us, collectively, as citizens, to respond to and recover from the events of those days.

As you may know, the fire service lost 343 of its finest that day. We cannot and will not forget their personal sacrifice. 

Just four days ago, one more New York City firefighter was laid to rest. Gerard Baptiste was one of three firefighters from Ladder 9 to die at Ground Zero. He was hailed for his passion for service. A value held by all first responders.

Today we remember him, we honor all those that were lost that day, and we pay tribute to their noble and selfless service and ultimate sacrifice.

For the future we strive to be better prepared and more secure by recommitting to prevention and response capabilities. We provide strength to each other by remaining committed to values of freedom, service, loyalty and self-sacrifice.

This remembrance provides us a brief moment to reflect, each in our own personal way, on this real and emotional event that will live on in our hearts and minds forever. 

Thank you for being here.  Thank you for remembering. And thank you for your courage.

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