Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Washington State September 11 Memorial and Procession Opening Remarks
September 11, 2002
We gather together today to remember. We gather together today to mourn. To pray. To honor. To hope. To comfort. We gather today to take solace, and to find meaning.
One year ago, 3,000 people were taken from us. People who loved and were loved. Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, sweethearts. People with hopes and dreams. People who cared about their families and cared about their future. People like you and me.
Today we remember and honor these people.
We also honor the survivors. We have been moved by their stories, stories of families that have somehow gone on. We have been moved to learn of the babies who entered the world after their fathers left it. Our hearts reach out to all these brave souls.
Shortly after that dark day, I visited Ground Zero. The enormity of the devastation can never be conveyed in a photograph or television image. People came from all directions, on a solemn pilgrimage. Voices grew quiet as people neared. Standing there amid the millions of flowers, the photographs of the lost and missing, the crayon drawings of children, there was a great and reverent silence. The recovery crews and equipment toiled nearby. But somehow their sounds seemed faint and far away. There was a hush in the air. There were no words among those standing there. Only mournful, respectful silence. And tears.
Today at Ground Zero, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was read. Standing on the fields of the Civil War’s most horrendous battle, Lincoln vowed:
“ . . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
We share that conviction as we honor those who perished in New York, and in Washington D.C., and in Pennsylvania. We will carry them in our hearts forever.
Let us now pay tribute to those we have lost with a song, “For the Fallen,” sung by the Seattle Men’s Chorus. At the song’s conclusion there will be a statewide minute of silence. We will then ring a memorial bell 21 times to honor the victims of September 11, 2001.