CONGRESSIONAL RECORD STATEMENT

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CONGRESSMAN ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA American Samoa U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

September 11, 2002

The Honorable Eni F.H. Faleomavaega

 

In Somber Remembrance of September 11, 2001

Mr. Speaker:

Although the scope and severity of the terrorist attacks on America make it difficult to know how best to memorialize those who were lost on September 11, 2001, I rise today to pay tribute to the passengers of United Flight 93 who courageously thwarted an attack on our nation’s Capital.

To the firefighters of New York City who gave their lives to rescue others, I join with my colleagues in saying that you will always be our heroes. To the World Trade Center victims, we mourn your passing. To those who died at the Pentagon, we will not forget you. To every man and woman serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, we stand by you. To our friends and neighbors across the globe, we thank you for supporting us in a time of need. For every American who has made the ultimate sacrifice and those who continue to risk their lives in order to save others, our Nation stands forever grateful.

We are one Nation, under God, united in our resolve to defend freedom in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. As President Franklin Roosevelt said, "We will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again. With confidence in our Armed Forces, with the unbound determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God."

Mr. Speaker, I commend President George W. Bush for his leadership in securing our homeland and strengthening America’s resolve to triumph over terrorism. I also commend the Honorable Colin L. Powell, U.S. Secretary of State, for his untold achievement in strengthening our alliances. I commend the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, for mobilizing our troops and protecting U.S. interests overseas. I commend the Secretary of Transportation, the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, for his decisive action to ground all planes and avoid further tragedy on September 11, 2001.

I also commend my colleagues in both the House and Senate. I commend both Republicans and Democrats. I commend all Americans united in their resolve to end the threat of terrorism for future generations.

On behalf of the people of American Samoa, I rise today to say that we will always remember the heroic actions of those who gave their lives so that we might live. We stand united in our resolve to defend freedom. Like all Americans, we join in prayer and proclaim September 11, 2002 as a day of Solemn Observance.

I commend the Honorable Tauese Sunia, Governor of American Samoa, for proclaiming Wednesday September 11, 2002 to be a Day of Solemn Observance throughout the Territory. All flags will be flown at half-mast. Memorial services will start in the Territory at sundown on Tuesday September 5, 2002 and will end with the last service set for 6:00 p.m. on September 11, 2002.

During this time, American Samoa will participate in a worldwide choral event. Choirs in every time zone around the world will perform Mozart’s Requiem at 8:46 a.m., the exact time of the first terrorist attack on America. American Samoa will represent the last time zone on the globe and the American Samoa Community College Choir will be the last choir on earth to sing Mozart’s Requiem during this worldwide, commemorative service.

I applaud the volunteers from the Seattle Symphony Chorale who organized this worldwide event to pay homage to the victims, survivors, and heroes of September 11, 2001. I also commend the students, staff, and faculty members at the American Samoa Community College for representing American Samoa on this historic and solemn occasion.

I also express my deepest gratitude for those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during this critical time in our nation’s history. I am pleased to say that the sons and daughters of American Samoa serve proudly in the U.S. military and, per capita, there are probably more soldiers in the U.S. Army from American Samoa than any other State or U.S. Territory.

I thank the sons and daughters of American Samoa for answering the call to serve. I pray for them. I pray for their families. I am painfully aware of the sacrifices they are making. I am very mindful of the dangers they are facing. Some thirty years ago, I served in the Vietnam War. As a Vietnam veteran, I remember all too well what it is like to be separated from loved ones. Each day, I wondered if I would ever see my loved ones again or if I would be among the thousands to return home in a body bag.

By the grace of God, I returned home safely. I now pray that the good Lord will watch over the brave men and women of American Samoa who are also willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that future generations may live in peace.

On this day of Solemn Observance, in this somber time of remembrance, my thoughts and prayers also go out to all those whose lives have been changed by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. May we always stand together in the defense of freedom and may God bless America.

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