The morning of Sept. 11, 2001, was crisp and clear. I was in New York City to help complete a bond sale in my duties as mayor of the city of Rome and had tickets to watch my favorite team, the New York Yankees, play against their longtime rival, the Boston Red Sox.
However, everything changed that day as I and countless others watched in confusion and horror as planes struck the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center complex in what we later learned was an act of terror.
With ash blanketing buildings in lower Manhattan and smoke billowing everywhere, I watched as brave first responders rushed to the scene to help those in need. It was a chaotic scene.
Slowly, our collective shock and fear subsided and turned into resolve. People stepped forward to help strangers. First responders risked life and limb to help those trapped in the rubble and millions of Americans offered what they could — clothing, blankets, food and donations — to help the families of victims suffering from this tragedy.
More than 3,000 people died on Sept. 11. Almost two decades later, I still have not forgotten the strength and courage shown by the families of those who perished.
Despite the passage of time, it is important that we continue to remember, reflect and reconnect with what happened on that fateful day in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pa. You can do so by participating Sept. 11 memorial commemorations that will be taking place in communities across the state. I encourage you to attend one of these moving, touching and poignant ceremonies.
I hope you will join me in remembering and honoring the lives of those who were lost on that tragic day and continuing to demonstrate that we remain the strongest, most compassionate and most resilient nation in the world.