NEW YORK – Excerpts from the joint meeting of Congress in New York on Friday:
Vice President Dick Cheney:
Since the hour of those attacks, we've been a nation at war, called once again to defend our liberty and our lives and to save humanity from the worst of horrors. As a nation born in revolution, we know that our freedom came at a very high price. We have no intention now of letting it slip away.
The members of the first Congress shaped events long into the future. The same is now asked of us. In the principles we stand for, the values we uphold and the decisions we make, we will set the course of this nation and, with it, the future of human freedom and the peace of the world.
It is not given to us to know every turn of events to come. We know, however, that we are the elected servants of a good, a just and a decent people. May we always act in that spirit, confident in our founding principles, clear in our purposes, choosing wisely and bowing only to divine providence.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.:
As we near the first anniversary of Sept. 11 with profound sadness, our hearts ache for those who died and for their families and loved ones. At the same time, we are filled with an abiding sense of gratitude to the people who live and work in this great city, especially the courageous workers and rescuers, for the way they inspired and stunned a wounded nation. In their countless acts of heroism and compassion a terrible beauty was born. In an hour of horror and grief they showed us how to go on.
Here in New York, at the Pentagon and in that lonely field in Pennsylvania, the wounds the terrorists inflicted were deep, but America's resolve was even deeper. Let history record that the terrorists failed.
Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss.:
This is a special place, as has already been said, because the first Congress began the work here that we continue this day: the work of ordered liberty; preserving, expanding the freedoms that now, as then, are the inalienable right of every person.
Two centuries ago, there were those who thought this was all nonsense. In their ignorance and arrogance they called America a doomed folly. But history overtook them, and their crowns and armies are part of the dustbin of history.
There are those like them today who cannot see beyond the limits of their own hatred. ...
They do not understand that in the unending struggle against tyranny, divine providence -- by whatever name we use -- is always on the side of freedom.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.:
We still feel the loss of every single person who perished on that fateful day. But as we lament the loss of life, we can marvel at the bravery of those who rushed in to help. ...
Stories of uncommon heroism were common on Sept. 11. The genius of America can be found in the sacrifices of these brave martyrs of freedom. As we remember Sept. 11, we must look forward to the day when we complete the task at hand, when we vanquish once and for all the terrorists who seek to take away our nation's freedom.
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo.:
We've grown accustomed, too accustomed, to war and slaughter in our world. But most always, it was "over there." ...
For all our differences, how remarkably one we are all today, from Ground Zero to a sacred field in Pennsylvania, to a shattered but now rebuilt wing of the Pentagon and all across this broad land.
On the fatal flights of Sept. 11, courage and resistance knew no bounds of party or race or status. They included a young father, a conservative columnist and a gay man. E Pluribus Unum.