U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following open letter to Texans ahead of the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance:

Dear Fellow Texans:

Today marks the 17th anniversary since our nation, our people, and our very way of life came under attack by terrorists on American soil.  With four hijacked planes and evil intentions, terrorists killed nearly 3,000 Americans as they crashed into our buildings and fields in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Seventeen years later, it still makes me proud that in the face of tragedy, American patriotism prevailed above evil.  We lowered our heads in prayer and rose up to serve our fellow man.

We bound together as they tried to tear us apart.  And we reflected on how very fortunate we are to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Through the smoke and debris, countless first responders, health professionals, law enforcement personnel, and good Samaritans offered a helping hand. Today we honor their service by recognizing September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Many of us still remember the attacks as if they were yesterday, and for us, serving others on this anniversary holds special meaning.

But even those Americans who don’t remember that fateful day – the Americans who were born after September 11, 2001 – display their patriotism with pride as they honor the fallen and celebrate what it means to be an American.

This year for the first time, those born after 9/11 will be able to enlist in the military.  They’ll defend the flag and our nation’s founding ideals – even without the poignant memory of the attacks.  So today as we honor those lost on this day seventeen years ago and those who stood up to help, I’d also like to recognize our newest service members.

May God bless our military, veterans, first responders and those who support them, and may He continue to bless the great state of Texas.

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.