Police Chief Rohrer's Prepared Remarks

Monday, Sept. 10, Fairfax County 9/11 Memorial Grove Garden

Prepared Remarks for 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony by Fairfax County Police Chief David Rohrer


I’m honored to stand before you again.  On Sept. 11, 2001, almost 3,000 persons died, including 72 law enforcement officers and 343 fire and rescue workers.  

And let us not forget those who were injured or suffered emotional trauma, and those who lost their co-workers, friends, family members, and loved ones. 

Although it has been six years, it is impossible to commemorate Sept. 11 without recalling the haunting images, our range of emotions, our sense of helplessness, and the horrific losses that stunned our collective consciousness. 

It is important that we respect and remember the victims of that day, but we must also remember the countless acts of devotion to duty, courage, compassion, and empathy demonstrated by fire and rescue workers, EMS and other medical

persons, police officers, members of the military, civil servants, volunteers, and everyday ‘citizen-heroes.’  Courage and determination in the face of adversity were plainly evident.

On this anniversary we recall the tragedy, but let us also see this as an anniversary of triumph and hope.  Some in the world mistakenly view a democracy as vulnerable.  But, as demonstrated countless times, democracy - with its inherent sense of purpose - breeds unity and strength. 

Our will was tested, but we only became more resolute in our commitment to our values, our democratic ideals, and our principles.  Patriotism, national unity, a strong sense of community, and the spirit of volunteerism all awakened in the aftermath of 9-11. 

Our shared challenge is to sustain that renewed spirit.  Let us remember that our fundamental freedoms and liberties come with requisite responsibilities and duties.  We must remain resolute and united in purpose, and detect and deter those who would do us or others harm.  As Dwight Eisenhower said in his First Inaugural address, “History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.”    

Let us then commemorate this anniversary by resolving once again to perform our responsibilities fully and live our personal and professional lives with a renewed sense of dedication, devotion, integrity, and commitment.     

And as I have in the past I will again challenge us to pursue courage and hope over fearfulness; responsibility over indifference; acceptance and tolerance over prejudice and bias; and understanding over ignorance.

As we remember the victims of 9-11, let us also remember all who continue to serve their country and their communities with selfless sacrifice. 

And let us look forward to the day when our men and women in the armed forces - including many of our own - in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in harm’s way complete their mission and return home and are reunited with their loved ones. 

Although we must remain steadfast and vigilant and never compromise our values and principles or our security, my vision for our tomorrow, and that of our children, is one of understanding, tolerance, and peace. 

As Thomas Jefferson said, “Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.”


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