As we commemorate the 19th anniversary of 9-11 today and as America continues to battle the coronavirus, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) delivers this week’s Weekly Democratic Address. Senator Gillibrand begins the address by remembering the selfless and generous spirit Americans exhibited on that terrifying day 19 years ago and underscores that we are seeing the same spirit today as Americans face the coronavirus pandemic. She notes that like the heroes who stepped up on September 11, 2001, there are everyday heroes today that are also showing up to help their neighbors. Senator Gillibrand recalls one of her proudest moment was when the Senate finally passed a bipartisan bill to provide 9-11 first responders with health care for the rest of their lives and emphasizes that the Senate must once again honor Americans today by passing a comprehensive coronavirus relief bill that meets their needs.
Senator Gillibrand’s remarks as delivered follow:
“I’m Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and I’m proud to represent New York in the United States Senate.
“Nineteen years ago, a sunny September morning turned to horror – and our state, and our country, were forever changed.
“September 11th was a terrifying day. We lost nearly 3,000 men, women, and children. They were our parents and siblings, our sons and daughters, our friends and our neighbors.
“Today, I join you in honoring those who we lost, but will never forget. That day, we experienced the darkest of moments, but we also witnessed the best of America.
“We saw it in the first responders speeding towards lower Manhattan, running up towers, while everyone else was running down. In the construction workers who rushed to help. In the strangers and communities that offered support. We saw how much Americans are willing to risk and sacrifice to help one another.
“That is the spirit of America. It is the selfless and strong and undaunted by challenging times. That’s who the American people are.
“Today, we are seeing that same spirit in the face of a new challenge. We see it in the essential workers who put themselves in harm’s way to fight COVID-19. In the communities working together to distribute food and lift each other up. In the people taking to the streets, marching for justice.
“These everyday heroes are stepping up to help their country. But Republicans in Congress are not stepping up or helping them. They’re failing them.
“These heroes deserve leaders who fight for them just as hard as our heroes fight for us. People are losing their jobs, going hungry, and worrying about losing their homes.
“Even in the face of that extreme adversity, the American people are doing everything they can to support each other. But they can’t do it alone.
“They need resources to fight this pandemic. They need real relief from this economic crisis. And they need it now.
“The Senate must pass a comprehensive Coronavirus relief bill that meets the needs of the American people. Not a paltry, piecemeal approach that leaves out millions.
“My proudest moment in the Senate was when we finally passed a bipartisan bill to provide our brave 9-11 first responders with health care for the rest of their lives. But it took years to get them the help that they deserved.
“We cannot let history repeat itself now. Our doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks, postal workers show us every day how to be strong and courageous: they show up, care for their neighbors, and help in every way they can.
“They put in the work. They need and deserve elected leaders who do the same.”