Portrait of Lynne Cheney

Remarks by the Second Lady at a Pennsylvania Memorial Service

September 20, 2001

(as prepared)

Thank you, Attorney General Fisher and Chaplain Reninger. Thank you for your kind words and for your strength during this difficult time.

On September 11, the Vice President and I, like all of you, listened and watched in horror as the terrible news came in from New York, Washington, and here in Pennsylvania. Words simply cannot describe the anguish that washed over our nation during those first hours and days.

With each new report we began more fully to understand the enormity of the events that were unfolding, and what those events would mean to so many Americans, to mothers and fathers, to brothers and sisters, and, most heartbreakingly, to children.

The Vice President and I want those of you who have lost loved ones to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. The President and Mrs. Bush want you to know that, too. The journey you face is unique in many ways, but you are not alone. All of America is with you.

Your loved ones' lives were cut short, and we mourn with you. We are so sorry. But all of America is trying to turn that sorrow into something good. We are talking to those we don't hear from often enough. We are putting aside our problems and trying to help others. We are stopping to think about what really matters during the time we have on this earth.

The men and women of Flight 93 were brave in a way few of us will even be called on to be, and they have inspired us. One proud citizen observed, "In the past, the words of our anthem seemed abstract, referring to bravery in battles long over. But last week's bravery, stemming from care and concern for others, was happening over and over before our eyes."

I hope it is of some comfort to you that your loved ones have made us better. They have made this country better, spurring us to think anew of why we love this land. Every tear that is shed when we sing "America the Beautiful" or "God Bless America" is a tribute to those you have loved and lost.

A poet once tried to find comfort with these words. The dead, he wrote, are "made one with Nature." We hear their voices "in all her music, from the moan of thunder, to the song of night's sweet bird." They are "a presence to be felt and known in darkness and in light." They are "a portion of the loveliness which once [they] made more lovely."

Someday we shall all join our dear ones who have gone before, but for now, whenever we see beauty, we will think of their beautiful souls. When we witness kindness, when we hear of heroism, we will remember them. And when we try ourselves to show regard for others and when we try ourselves to be brave, we will be creating the truest memorial for those who died on Flight 93.

Lynne Cheney, Remarks by the Second Lady at a Pennsylvania Memorial Service Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/280324

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