September 11, 2021
CLEVELAND, OH – Today, on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Senator Portman released a new video reflecting on the impact of that tragic day that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
The video can be found here and the transcript can be found below.
“It has been two decades since the 9/11 attacks. The memory of that day and the memories of those we lost still remain with us.
“On September 11th, I was serving in Congress representing the Cincinnati area. That morning, I had organized a meeting at the West Wing of the White House with several colleagues and senior officials serving in George W. Bush’s administration.
“My wife Jane was in DC for a rare visit so she came with me.
“When the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City, a Bush aide interrupted our meeting and asked me to come upstairs to the Chief of Staff’s office. He said there seemed to have been a terrible accident.
“As I walked in the office, we saw on TV that another plane hit the second tower, and knew this was no accident. We were under attack.
“President Bush was in Sarasota, Florida, but the White House staff went into action. I saw the deputy national security advisor for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, who I had recently met, rush into the West Wing and head for the Situation Room.
“As this tragedy unfolded, what went through my mind that morning was the possibility that one or more of these weapons of mass destruction might have been used.
“As we hurriedly left the West Wing of the White House just before it was evacuated, we could see an ominous plume of black smoke coming from the Pentagon. We turned on the car radio and heard about the attack on the Pentagon and the possibility of another plane coming to DC.
“We were concerned about our three young children who were back home in Cincinnati. I thought it was important I stay in Washington, but we wanted to get Jane home to be with our kids and other family.
“Rental cars were already hard to find, but we got the last car at an Enterprise rental agency and Jane headed home. On her way back, somewhere in Pennsylvania, Jane called me to say a group of first responders from Ohio Task Force One out of southwest Ohio, passed her going east, lights flashing.
“We had a few friends who were part of that group. Here they were, driving into harm’s way to help search and rescue for survivors at Ground Zero in New York City.
“God bless them, and all Americans who showed extraordinary bravery in the face of adversity: the firefighters, police officers, emergency responders, and everyday citizens who stepped forward and risked their lives for others.
“Others donated blood, sent contributions, or extended a hand to a neighbor in need. Many of us know someone affected directly by the cowardly terrorist attacks 20 years ago, and my thoughts and prayers go out to my fellow Americans who continue to mourn the loss of a loved one on that tragic day.
“Every September 11th since 2011, I have made it a point to reach out to some Ohio families who lost a loved one in the attacks.
“The fight to protect our country from terrorism continues today. There are still evil terrorists who dedicate themselves to ending the American way of life.
“We must always express our appreciation for our brave service men and women who have served or continue to serve in the War on Terror. Their tireless efforts have protected us here at home and abroad.
“With the recent events in Afghanistan, I want all of our veterans and their families to know that their sacrifice was not in vain. They fought the enemy on foreign soil so we did not have to fight them here and endure another event like 9/11.
“On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your service and your sacrifice, and may God Bless you and may God Bless the United States of America.”