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Launch and 9/11 Recaps

PATRICK AFB, Fla. --       I would first like to thank the entire team for their efforts in helping launch the NASA GRAIL mission on Saturday. I want to also congratulate our Vice Commander, Col. Rory Welch, on his first launch as the Launch Decision Authority. Once again we have proven how great the partnership is between NASA, the United Launch Alliance and the 45th Space Wing.
      Now I would like to discuss a more somber occasion, which was the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our nation on Sept. 11, 2001.
     Many of us saw these coordinated attacks unfold on television; others witnessed them firsthand. No matter how we experienced them, we all felt a loss: some of us lost friends; some of us lost family members; and some of us lost coworkers. Forever. And forever, this day changed our Nation.
     This past Sunday, Marsha and I had the honor of attending the Brevard Remembers Memorial Ceremony for the 10th Anniversary of Sept. 11. This was only one of many events across the Space Coast and it was uplifting to see so many people gathered together to pay homage to those who died that day.
     The loss of nearly 3,000 lives is not something any of us can forget; nor should we. Remembering those who perished on that tragic day, we also remember all victims of terrorism throughout the world.
     Nineteen terrorists tried to change the resolve of the American people that September morning. (I was in the Morrell Operations Center, then called the Range Operations Control
Center, when the planes hit the World Trade Center.)
     Instead, their acts made the U.S. even stronger.
     In the words of Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, "As we reflect on the horrific day that marked the beginning of our struggle to better secure the world from these threats, we honor the tremendous selfless service that today still distinguishes American Soldiers,
Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, comprising the most dedicated, professional, and powerful military force in the world." 
     Sharks, I am proud to serve with you and to have the honor to be your commander.
     Keep pushing!