Ten years ago today, Nevadans awoke to learn of unspeakable acts of terror, acts that would tear the fabric of America and cast doubt on our ability to keep one another safe. And yet, at the same time, a great sense of patriotism awoke in the collective heart of a nation. From doubt came resolve. The American people took comfort in each other in ways that were entirely consistent with our history of rising to meet any challenge. We came together as a nation; regardless of race, color or creed, we stood as one. We were inspired by countless tales of heroism and selfless acts of sacrifice.
On this important anniversary day, Americans will gather in memorial services large and small, well-planned and spontaneous. We gather to remember what we have been, and all that we can be. We remember that there is more that unites us than divides us - that when the hour is darkest, we can become one family, one nation. And we share a spirit that terror cannot break, ensuring we will do whatever it takes when the hour of need is upon us. Because we cannot know when that time will come.
This week tragedy struck again, this time here in the heart of Carson City. As so many of us started our work day, lives were cut short and a community was left shaken by a senseless act of violence. But once again, we saw heroes rise from the where they had fallen - we saw people from our own neighborhoods rush to the aid of those who were injured. We also saw that the same spirit of patriotism and heroism still lives in the hearts of our friends and neighbors. It may rest, weary from the load, but it cannot be extinguished.
Today we will remember. We will reflect. We will mourn. And today we will comfort each other once more, lest we sorrow as those who have no hope.
Here in Carson City, at the Brewery Arts Center, a recent youth production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" carried these same themes of remembrance, and of the need to stand up and be counted when our neighbors need us most. Reminding us that we often must choose our own course of action in difficult times, local writer and performer Sara Sessions put it like this: "Would you rather be a victim, a perpetrator, a bystander, or a rescuer?" Each of us can only hope that we will be rescuers.
America remains the greatest nation on Earth - an unparalleled fighting force, a mighty republic committed to the ideals of democracy and equality, fairness and the rule of law, freedom of expression and religion and, in the end, committed most of all to each other. We are a people descended from those who sought the promise of opportunity. It falls to us to keep that promise alive - through optimism, courage, and an undying commitment to come together whenever we are called upon to rescue those we love.
In our remembrance and even in our mourning, we will find the strength to look ahead. There is suffering in the world, and there are needs in our communities. There is work to be done here at home as well as far-off lands. And so today we comfort each other, but we must rise every day to continue the work that remains undone. We must commit ourselves to fulfilling America's promise of opportunity through actions as well as remembrance. We must commit to choose courage, to choose to be rescuers like the heroes of 9/11 and those who inspired us right here in our capital city this week. We must choose to stand as one.