Hudson: 9/11 a reminder war on terror persists

This week marked a very solemn date for our nation and a stark reminder that evil exists around the world.

On September 11, 2001, the United States of America fell victim to the most horrific terrorist attack in our history—an attack spurred by cowardice and hatred for our way of life. Thirteen years later, we remember the innocent lives lost and the sacrifices that were made; we remember the overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and despair; and we remember the heroism and courage of our first responders, bystanders, and fellow citizens who paid the ultimate price for our liberty.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson This Week in Washington

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson
This Week in Washington

We will never forget the many heroic acts that emerged from this tragedy and the lives lost in New York, the Pentagon, on Flight 93 and those who perished while continuing to fight to protect America against terrorism.

As I joined all Americans in a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. on Thursday, I couldn’t help but think of where I was that fateful day. For a lot of folks, it’s easy to remember brief moments and the shared feelings from that day.  As district director for Congressman Robin Hayes (NC-08), I was visiting Washington D.C. with county Chambers of Commerce from across the Eighth District to attend the annual North Carolina Business and Economic Development Summit. I remember the heartbreak and concern as we watched the footage of the towers burning on TV. Soon, that concern turned into intense fear as the third plane crashed into the Pentagon confirming what we all suspected may happen: the nation’s capital was also under attack.

Earlier that morning, Congressman Hayes and some of his colleagues on the Armed Services Committee had been at the Pentagon to meet with then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the National Defense Authorization Act. During this meeting, Congressman Hayes asked Secretary Rumsfeld what it would ultimately take for people to understand and appreciate that the most important responsibility of the federal government was national defense. Secretary Rumsfeld, in a moment that when viewed through the lens of hindsight will give you chills, simply responded: it will take some kind of national tragedy like an attack on the homeland.

At the time, Secretary Rumsfeld had no way of knowing what that day would entail, but his words serve as an important lesson to carry forward. We cannot wait for an attack to remind us of our obligation to remain vigilant against the threat of terrorism.

Exactly 11 years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, this reminder occurred when four Americans tragically lost their lives at the hands of terrorists at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. While we continue to pursue justice for these fallen heroes and their families, we must continue to do all that we can to stop and ultimately defeat those who seek to harm America.

Currently, radical Islamic extremists continue to rampage across the Middle East, cowardly massacring thousands of innocent women and children, Christians and other religious minorities, and even fellow Muslims.

As chairman of the Transportation Security Subcommittee, I frequently receive classified briefings and am very aware of the severe threat posed by ISIS. This week, President Barack Obama addressed the nation with his plan to defeat ISIS. It’s unfortunate it took so long for the president to present the American people with a plan, and the steps he laid out may be the right ones to take, but I remain concerned how they fit into a broader strategy to ultimately defeat this enemy.

If left unchecked and unhindered, these barbaric terrorists will continue to grow and pose a threat not only to regional stability, but to the world at large and the U.S. homeland. That is why the United States must act now to dismantle and destroy ISIS wherever they seek safe haven. Congress is scheduled to debate and vote on the president’s plan this week, and it’s important that lawmakers carefully consider the long-term strategy and ask serious questions regarding the United States’ policy in the Middle East. As your representative, I remain committed to working with my colleagues and the Administration to protect our citizens and defeat ISIS.

Renee and I will continue to pray for those who have lost loved ones in our fight for continued safety and security. As our nation mourns and remembers those who perished, we continue to grow stronger in our conviction against those who wish us harm. On this 13th anniversary and at a time of increasing global threats, we will continue to stand strong as one nation, unified by resilience and commitment to defend these United States of America at home and abroad.

Richard Hudson, a Republican, represents the 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes a small part of Mecklenburg County and takes in all or parts of the counties of Cabarrus, Union, Randolph, Rowan, Davidson, Stanly, Anson, Montgomery, Richmond, Scotland and Robeson.


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