(Washington, D.C.) - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor to discuss the death of Osama bin Laden and pay tribute to the service members and veterans, and those who have been lost in our military efforts.
The full text of Senator Murray’s speech follows:
Mr. President, I come to the floor today to briefly discuss the tremendous news our country received last night from President Obama.
Almost ten years ago, on September 11, 2001, I remember looking out of a window here in our nation’s capitol, and seeing clouds of black smoke billowing in the air over the Pentagon.
On that day America was brutally attacked by terrorists who took aim at the financial, military, and political centers of our country.
And although these evil men killed thousands of Americans and caused great devastation, they were unable to do what they wanted to do most: break our great country’s spirit.
We came together as a community, we mourned, we rallied around the families of those who were lost, and we struck back against those who did us harm.
Mr. President, last night’s tremendous news is the close of a major chapter in the war on terror.
It is a great day for justice and for all Americans to remember the strength and resolve of our nation.
I applaud the superb work of our intelligence communities and the work of this Administration who brought the mastermind of the worst attack in our nation's history to justice.
But today I want to pay special tribute to the men and women in uniform who have answered the call to serve after that fateful day 10 years ago.
Since the attacks on New York and Washington D.C., more than 2 million American service members have stepped forward to serve our nation.
Nearly half of these service members have done more than one tour of duty abroad.
Many who have served have come from the ranks of our National Guard and Reserves and have turned a part time commitment into a full time job protecting our nation.
These men and women, who chose to join our all volunteer force, come from all walks of life and from every corner of our nation.
In my home state thousands have come forward to serve while thousands more have come to Washington state to train and make their home at our major military installations.
These service members have done everything we’ve asked of them, and more.
While it appears that yesterday’s raid came without American casualties - that of course has not been the case for so many missions in our fight against terrorism.
Since 9/11 nearly 6,000 service members have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and more than 40,000 have been wounded.
For many of our service members the scars of their service are visible, and for others they are invisible.
Many have lost those closest to them on the battle field and have come home with a burden that few others know.
Others will need a lifetime of care from the Department of Defense and the VA.
And all have left families that love and miss them behind to protect our country.
We cannot forget these families and the fact that they have sacrificed right by our service member’s side.
Moving from base to base, giving up jobs, and putting their loved ones and their country before their own needs, is a gift that we must repay.
As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, it’s my job to ensure that the lifetime of care these service members and their caregivers need will be delivered.
So today as we appropriately take pride in the most significant victory yet in our fight against Al Qaeda and terrorism, we should also take pause to honor all of the veterans and active duty service members who have paved the way to this day.
And we must remember that this tremendous victory has come with a tremendous cost.
A cost that we must bear as a nation for many years to come - as our service members return home.
Mr. President, this is of course also a particularly meaningful day for the thousands of Americans who lost a family member, friend or loved one on September 11th.
We know that this news can’t bring back their loved ones but our hope is that can help to ease the pain they live with each day.
Like many Americans my first thought last night after this news was of the victims and their families, and my thoughts and prayers remain with them during this time.
Going forward, we must remain vigilant and focused on the protection of the American people from terrorism wherever it may be.
And we must continue to work in the interest of peace and security for all Americans.
Thank you Mr. President. I yield the floor.