Full Text Campaign Buzz September 11, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at National Guard Association Conference in Reno, Nevada — Thanks Armed Forces

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

After Criticism, Romney Thanks Armed Forces

Source: NYT, 9-11-12

Mitt Romney spoke at the National Guard Association Convention in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Mitt Romney spoke at the National Guard Association Convention in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday.

Speaking to National Guard members in Reno, Nev., Mitt Romney expressed gratitude for troops serving overseas, saying the defense budget should not be cut….READ MORE

MITT ROMNEY DELIVERS REMARKS TO THE NATIONAL GUARD ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-11-12

Mitt Romney today delivered remarks to the National Guard Association Conference in Reno, Nevada. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Major General Vavala, thank you for your generous introduction.  And thank you for your years of service as Chairman of the Board – and for your decades of service to our nation.

Ladies and gentlemen of the National Guard Association, it is an honor to be with you on this day of memorial and appreciation. We remember with heavy hearts the tragic loss of life, and we express thankfulness for the men and women who responded to that tragedy. We honor them, and we honor those who secure our safety even to this day.

We honor the men and women of the National Guard. For 375 years, whenever your countrymen have encountered threat and danger, you have willingly gone. Wherever the cause of freedom has called, you have answered. And as the threats to liberty have emanated from distant lands, you’ve served far from home and far from family. The nation has asked much more of you than had been expected, but you have never faltered, never wavered from the mission of your motto:  “Always Ready, Always There.”

Two weeks ago, I saw the Guard in action in Louisiana after it was hit by Hurricane Isaac.  For many of the people of the Gulf – who had just finished repairing their homes and getting life back to normal after Katrina – the damage from Isaac felt like too much to bear.  As I toured the flooded streets, I was not surprised to find the Guard keeping order, distributing water and supplies, and caring for many of those they had evacuated and rescued.

Time and again, it has been the Guardsman’s hand that has lifted a child from rising waters, that has rescued a family from a hurricane’s fury, and that has fed and clothed a fellow American whose home and possessions have been lost to nature’s devastation. It is a Guardsman who took out Saddam Hussein’s tanks from his A-10, and who has fought to secure the villages of Afghanistan.

Our world is a dangerous place. And the attack on our homeland and citizens on September 11, 2001 reminds us that the mission of the Guard is ever more critical, and ever more deserving of our support and honor.

More than a decade has now passed since that day of tragedy. But the visions and events are seared in the memory of every American. We remember those who died. We marvel at the courage of those who stormed the cockpit when they became aware of the malevolent purpose of the hijackers. We hold up in prayer the families and friends who have lived in a shadow cast by grief. We draw strength from the selflessness of the first responders. And we renew our resolve to protect America from the designs of evil men.

Like you, I remember where I was on 9/11.  I was originally planning to be in Battery Park, in New York – not far from the World Trade Center.  But as it turned out, I was in Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress about preparations for the security of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games.  A colleague and I were working in our office in the Ronald Reagan building – just a few blocks from the White House.

Someone rushed into our office and said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I turned on the small TV on the desk and watched in shock as flames and smoke erupted from the North Tower.

I called my wife Ann. She too watched the tragedy from her TV and wondered how a plane could fly into a building in clear daylight.  And then we saw the second plane crash into the second tower. These, then, were purposeful acts, these were terrorist acts, these were evil and cowardly and heinous acts.

Leaving the city, I drove toward Alexandria, Virginia. The highway I was on came within a few hundred yards of the Pentagon, which had been hit. Cars had stopped where they were, and people had gotten out, watching in horror. I could smell burning fuel and concrete and metal. It was the smell of war, something I never imagined I would smell in America.

In our own ways, we each were overwhelmed by the enormity of the loss of life. We struggled to comprehend the magnitude of what this meant for the families of those who had been killed, and for our own families, for our nation, and for the world. For some, there was also anger. But grief and anger soon turned to action – and among those taking the lead were members of the National Guard.

Members of the National Guard secured our airports and borders, and members of the Guard began to mobilize to deploy half a world away – where you would become all too familiar with the mountains of the Hindu Kush and the streets of Fallujah. Throughout the last eleven years, Guardsmen and women have helped keep us safe from attack.

I wish I could say the world is less dangerous now – that it is less chaotic. I wish I could predict with certainty the threats we will face in the years ahead.   But on September 10, 2001, we had no idea that America would be at war in Afghanistan. In December of 2010, we had no idea that a Tunisian street vendor would inspire a revolution that would topple three dictators. We live in a time of turbulence and disruption. What I can say with certainty is that we need the National Guard’s vigilance and strength now as much as ever before.

With less than two months to go before Election Day, I would normally speak to a gathering like this about the differences between my and my opponent’s plans for our military and for our national security.  There is a time and a place for that, but this day is not it.

It is instead a day to express gratitude to the men and women who have fought – and who are still fighting – to protect us and our country, including those who traced the trail of terror to that walled compound in Abbottabad and the SEALs who delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.

This is also a day in which all of us – in this convention hall, in this campaign, and in this country – can hopefully agree on important things.

This century must be an American Century.  It began with terror, war, and economic calamity.  It is now our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity.  America must lead the free world, and the free world must lead the entire world.  In our dealings with other nations, we must demonstrate confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose, and resolve in our might.

For this to be an American Century, we must have a military that is second to none. American military power is vital to the preservation of our own security and for the preservation of peace around the world.  Time and again, America’s military might has been the best ally of liberty and peace: American forces rescued Europe, twice.  American forces stood up to brutal dictators and freed millions living under tyranny.  America’s military leads the fight against terrorism around the world – and secures the global commons to keep them safe for the trade and commerce that are vital to lifting people from poverty.

While the war in Iraq is over, nearly 70,000 American troops still remain in Afghanistan.  Our goal should be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.  We should evaluate conditions on the ground and solicit the best advice of our military commanders.

We can all agree that our men and women in the field deserve a clear mission, that they deserve the resources and resolute leadership they need to complete that mission, and that they deserve a country that will provide for their needs when they come home.

Of course, the return of our troops cannot and must not be used as an excuse to hollow out our military through devastating defense budget cuts.  It is true that our armed forces have been stretched to the brink – and that is all the more reason to repair and rebuild.  We can always find places to end waste.  But we cannot cancel program after program, we cannot jeopardize critical missions, and we cannot cut corners in the quality of the equipment and training we provide.

We must recognize that when our troops come home, they should not have to struggle for work.  After all our veterans have done for us, they deserve the opportunity to find good jobs and the dignity of pursuing the American Dream.

We must also keep the faith with our veterans, no matter when or where they have served, through a strong VA system.  When the backlog for disability claims reaches nearly one million … when a federal building in Virginia becomes structurally unstable because so many claims have piled up on its highest floors … then we can all agree that the system is in need of serious and urgent reform.

Our veterans deserve care and benefits that are second to none.  Here, there is considerable work waiting to be done.  The backlog of disability claims needs to be eliminated, the unconscionable waits for mental health treatment need to be dramatically shortened, and the suicide rate among active-duty soldiers and veterans must be treated like the emergency it is.

Veterans’ benefits are not a gift that is given, but a debt that is due.  The problems with the VA are serious and must be fixed.  We are in danger of another generation of veterans losing their faith in the VA system – so we must ensure that the VA keeps faith with all our veterans.  We must keep our promises and regain the trust of all who have worn the uniform and served.

When I was the Governor of Massachusetts, I saw firsthand the Guard’s bravery and valor.

In 2006, I visited Iraq and Afghanistan along with two other governors. We met with the members of the National Guard from our respective states. I said to them that if they wanted me to call their spouse or family when I returned, I would be happy to do so. Just hand me a note with their names and phone numbers.  When I left for home, I found that I had 63 calls to make.  I knew that making that many calls would take quite a few days.

I returned home on Memorial Day weekend.  I decided to start making just a few of those calls first thing in the morning, before my kids and grandkids got up.  After I’d made only two or three, a Guardsman’s wife answered and said, “Oh, Governor Romney, I thought that might be you calling.”  Apparently, the first spouses I had called, had called other spouses, or had emailed their loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan who then emailed their spouses back home to tell them to expect my call.  So I made 63 calls on Memorial Day.

Remember, May 2006 was a difficult time in the Iraq War.  Many of you know that from experience.  We were suffering terrible casualties, and terrorism was straining our efforts to stand up the Iraqi government.  The “surge” had not yet begun and our politics back home had become deeply divided.

As I made those calls, I braced myself for questions about why the Guardsmen I had met couldn’t come home – right away.  Yet in 63 calls, I did not hear a single complaint.  Not one.  On each call, I expressed gratitude on behalf of our nation and my state for the sacrifice of their family and of their loved one who was in harm’s way. And then, from virtually everyone I spoke with, they would correct me to say that it was an honor to be able to sacrifice for America and to serve the greatest nation on earth.  Such is the patriotism of the men and women and the families of our National Guard!

Many of those calls left me with tears in my eyes.  I will never forget meeting the brave men and women who had volunteered for the National Guard in Massachusetts, who found themselves on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I will never forget speaking with their loved ones.  And I will always hold the greatest admiration for every one of them.

On the campaign trail, it has been my privilege to meet with troops and veterans from just about every state.  They come from our farms, our great cities, our small towns and quiet neighborhoods.  Many have known violence so that their neighbors could know peace.  They have done more than protect America; their courage and service defines America.

On this eleventh anniversary of September 11th, we remember the victims who perished in the attacks.  We also remember the men and women serving in dangerous places around the world.  We will not forget why they are fighting or who they are fighting for.  They are faithful to us and to our country; we must not break faith with them.

I want to personally thank you for keeping us safe.  It is inspiring to be in the company of men and women of courage, as I am today. It is an honor to be among those whose sense of duty and love of country lift our hearts and spirits.

We are blessed to live in a country where freedom is so highly cherished, so fiercely protected, and so admirably defended by the noble men and women of the National Guard.

Thank you.  Thank you all for your service.  May God bless America and continue to keep her safe.

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Full Text Campaign Buzz September 11, 2012: Mitt Romney’s September 11th 9-11 Statement ‘On this somber day with stand tall for peace & freedom’

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

MITT ROMNEY: ON THIS SOMBER DAY, WE STAND TALL FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-11-12

Mitt Romney today made the following statement on September 11th:

“Eleven years ago, evil descended upon our country, taking thousands of lives in an unspeakable attack against innocents. America will never forget those who perished.  America will never stop caring for the loved ones they left behind. And America shall remain ever vigilant against those who would do us harm. Today we again extend our most profound gratitude to our brave troops who have gone into battle, some never to return, so that we may live in peace. On this most somber day, those who would attack us should know that we are united, one nation under God, in our determination to stop them and to stand tall for peace and freedom at home and across the world.”

Full Text Obama Presidency September 11, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Pentagon Memorial Service in Remembrance of 9/11 — After 9/11, America ‘Even Stronger’

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Obama: After 9/11, America ‘Even Stronger’

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-11-12

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Eleven years after the 9/11 attacks, President Obama says the country has emerged stronger, safer and more resilient.

“As painful as this day is and always will be, it leaves us with a lesson: that no single event can ever destroy who we are, no act of terrorism can ever change what we stand for,” the president said Tuesday at a memorial ceremony at the Pentagon.  “Instead, we recommit ourselves to the values that we believe in, holding firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.”

Recalling a day “that began like so many others,” Obama said, “It is easy for those of us who lived through that day to close our eyes and to find ourselves back there and back here, back when grief crashed over us like an awful wave, when Americans everywhere held each other tight, seeking the reassurance that the world we knew wasn’t crumbling under our feet.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President at the Pentagon Memorial Service in Remembrance of 9/11

Source: WH, 9-11-12 

Pentagon Memorial
Arlington, Virginia

9:49 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Secretary Panetta, General Dempsey, members of our Armed Forces, and most importantly, to the families –survivors and loved ones — of those we lost, Michelle and I are humbled to join you again on this solemn anniversary.

Today we remember a day that began like so many others.  There were rides to school and commutes to work, early flights and familiar routines, quick hugs and quiet moments.  It was a day like this one — a clear blue sky, but a sky that would soon be filled with clouds of smoke and prayers of a nation shaken to its core.

Even now, all these years later, it is easy for those of us who lived through that day to close our eyes and to find ourselves back there — and back here — back when grief crashed over us like an awful wave, when Americans everywhere held each other tight, seeking the reassurance that the world we knew wasn’t crumbling under our feet.

Eleven times we have marked another September 11th come and gone.  Eleven times, we have paused in remembrance, in reflection, in unity and in purpose.

This is never an easy day.  But it is especially difficult for all of you — the families of nearly 3,000 innocents who lost their lives — your mothers and fathers, your husbands and wives, your sons and your daughters. They were taken from us suddenly and far too soon.

To you and your families, the rest of us cannot begin to imagine the pain you’ve endured these many years.  We will never fully understand how difficult it has been for you to carry on, to summon that strength and to rebuild your lives.

But no matter how many years pass, no matter how many times we come together on this hallowed ground, know this — that you will never be alone.  Your loved ones will never be forgotten.  They will endure in the hearts of our nation, because through their sacrifice, they helped us make the America we are today — an America that has emerged even stronger.

Most of the Americans we lost that day had never considered the possibility that a small band of terrorists halfway around the world could do us such harm.  Most had never heard the name al Qaeda.  And yet, it’s because of their sacrifice that we’ve come together and dealt a crippling blow to the organization that brought evil to our shores.  Al Qaeda’s leadership has been devastated and Osama bin Laden will never threaten us again.  Our country is safer and our people are resilient.

It’s true that the majority of those who died on September 11th had never put on our country’s uniform.  And yet, they inspired more than 5 million Americans — members of the 9/11 Generation — to wear that uniform over the last decade.  These men and women have done everything that we have asked.

Today, the war in Iraq is over.  In Afghanistan, we’re training Afghan security forces and forging a partnership with the Afghan people.  And by the end of 2014, the longest war in our history will be over.  Meanwhile, countless civilians have opened their hearts to our troops, our military families and our veterans.

Eleven years ago, memorial services were held for Americans of different races and creeds, backgrounds and beliefs.  And yet, instead of turning us against each other, tragedy has brought us together.  I’ve always said that our fight is with al Qaeda and its affiliates, not with Islam or any other religion.  This country was built as a beacon of freedom and tolerance.  That’s what’s made us strong, now and forever.

And, finally, when those innocent souls were taken from us they left behind unfulfilled work and tasks that remain undone.  And that’s why, on a day when others sought to bring this country down, we choose to build it up with a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Scripture tells us “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  There’s no better way to honor the best in those who died than by discovering the best in ourselves.

This anniversary allows us to renew our faith that even the darkest night gives way to a brighter dawn.  Today, we can come here to the Pentagon, and touch these names and kneel beside a building where a single stone still bears the scars of that fire. We can visit the field of honor in Pennsylvania and remember the heroes who made it sacred.  We can see water cascading into the footprints of the Twin Towers, and gaze up at a new tower rising above the New York skyline.

And even though we may never be able to fully lift the burden carried by those left behind, we know that somewhere, a son is growing up with his father’s eyes, and a daughter has her mother’s laugh — living reminders that those who died are with us still.

So as painful as this day is and always will be, it leaves us with a lesson that no single event can ever destroy who we are.  No act of terrorism can ever change what we stand for.  Instead, we recommit ourselves to the values that we believe in, holding firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

That’s the commitment that we reaffirm today.  And that’s why, when the history books are written, the true legacy of 9/11 will not be one of fear or hate or division.  It will be a safer world; a stronger nation; and a people more united than ever before.

God bless the memories of those we lost.  And God bless these United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
9:58 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency September 11, 2012: Vice President Joe Biden’s Speech at the Flight 93 National Memorial Commemorative Service

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the Vice President at the Flight 93 National Memorial Commemorative Service

Source: WH, 9-11-12

Flight 93 National Memorial
Shanksville, Pennsylvania

10:30 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Superintendent — Jeff, you’ve done a remarkable job here. And the thing I notice when I speak to you about is you’re invested in this place. It sort of has a — sort of stolen a piece of your heart. And that’s why I’m confident that all that you plan will happen.

Patrick, you’re keeping the flame alive, and keeping the families together is — from my experience, I imagine you all find solace in seeing one another. There’s nothing like being able to talk with someone who you know understands.

And it’s an honor — it’s a genuine honor to be back here today. But like all of the families, we wish we weren’t here. We wish we didn’t have to be here. We wish we didn’t have to commemorate any of this. And it’s a bittersweet moment for the entire nation, for all of the country, but particularly for those family members gathered here today.

Last year, the nation and all of your family members that are here commemorated the 10th anniversary of the heroic acts that gave definition to what has made America such a truly exceptional place — the individual acts of heroism of ordinary people in moments that could not have been contemplated, but yet were initiated.

I also know from my own experience that today is just as momentous a day for all of you, just as momentous a day in your life, for each of your families, as every September 11th has been, regardless of the anniversary. For no matter how many anniversaries you experience, for at least an instant, the terror of that moment returns; the lingering echo of that phone call; that sense of total disbelief that envelops you, where you feel like you’re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest.

My hope for you all is that as every year passes, the depth of your pain recedes and you find comfort, as I have, genuine comfort in recalling his smile, her laugh, their touch. And I hope you’re as certain as I am that she can see what a wonderful man her son has turned out to be, grown up to be; that he knows everything that your daughter has achieved, and that he can hear, and she can hear how her mom still talks about her, the day he scored the winning touchdown, how bright and beautiful she was on that graduation day, and know that he knows what a beautiful child the daughter he never got to see has turned out to be, and how much she reminds you of him. For I know you see your wife every time you see her smile on your child’s face. You remember your daughter every time you hear laughter coming from her brother’s lips. And you remember your husband every time your son just touches your hand.

I also hope — I also hope it continues to give you some solace knowing that this nation, all these people gathered here today, who are not family members, all your neighbors, that they’ve not forgotten. They’ve not forgotten the heroism of your husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers. And that what they did for this country is still etched in the minds of not only you, but millions of Americans, forever. That’s why it’s so important that this memorial be preserved and go on for our children and our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren, and our great-great-grandchildren — because it is what makes it so exceptional. And I think they all appreciate, as I do, more than they can tell you, the incredible bravery your family members showed on that day.

I said last year my mom used to have an expression. She’d say, Joey, bravery resides in every heart, and someday it will be summoned. It’s remarkable — remarkable — how it was not only summoned, but acted on.

Today we stand on this hallowed ground, a place made sacred by the heroism and sacrifice of the passengers and the crew of Flight 93. And it’s as if the flowers, as I walked here, as if the flowers were giving testament to how sacred this ground is.

My guess — and obviously it’s only a guess; no two losses are the same. But my guess is you’re living this moment that Yeats only wrote about, when he wrote, pray I will and sing I must, but yet I weep. Pray I will, sing I must, but yet I weep.

My personal prayer for all of you is that in every succeeding year, you’re able to sing more than you weep. And may God truly bless you and bless the souls of those 40 incredible people who rest in this ground. (Applause.)

END
10:37 A.M. EDT

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