Governor Wolf Honors Flight 93 Passengers, Families at the 17th Annual September 11 Observance

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf delivered the following remarks as prepared at the 17th Annual September 11 Observance in Shanksville:

Thank you all for being here as we remember those we lost 17 years ago today.

Thank you to Governor Ridge, whose leadership in the days after 9/11 steadied our commonwealth.

Thank you to Governor Schweiker, who I have the honor of introducing today and who provided necessary leadership after Governor Ridge went to help the country respond to the horrifying events of that day.

Thank you to President Trump for joining us in Pennsylvania for this solemn remembrance.

And thank you to the families, friends, loved ones who 17 years ago found their lives changed.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to the family members who learned of the attacks happening in New York and Washington, and took decisive, heroic actions.

Since I became governor, I have been honored to speak before you and offer what thanks I can on behalf of myself and the commonwealth for your sacrifice.

This year, with the dedication of the Tower of Voices, there are new avenues of remembrance and new opportunities to reflect on the impossible sacrifices made in the skies above us.

And where there has been unspeakable tragedy, the families whose loved ones were on that flight have built a place of aspiration, hope, and honor.

Right here in Pennsylvania.

We thank you for that.

Each year all Pennsylvanians remember and honor your loved ones.

We hail them as heroes and we recall their actions, and listen to their words.

Hero is one of the most overused words in any language.

We may bestow this title too frequently.

But the people who found themselves on Flight 93, in the skies above us, are heroes.

The first responders and everyday citizens that came to the crash site are heroes.

And they all fit the definition in the most laudable way imaginable.

They did not know who they were saving.

They did not know where the plane would head or whose lives it may take.

They only knew that their fellow Americans were at risk and they sacrificed everything for them.

Their actions were heroic.

Their sacrifice was patriotic.

We all hope that faced with the same situation, we’d make the same choices.

But it is no guarantee because the people on that flight we truly special, they were true heroes.

And on behalf of all Pennsylvanians, I again give our deepest thanks and our most sincere gratitude.

In the days following the attack, Pennsylvania was lucky to be led by individuals who rose to the challenge before them.

They suddenly led a state that became a battlefield, in a country beset by distress, in a world sieged with fear.

But where there was uncertainty, they led with strength.

Where there was division, they led with empathy.

Where there was fear, they led with compassion.

Where there was cravenness, they led with courage.

And while they awoke with the same fear, the worry for their families, children, wives, that we all had in the days following the attack, they were stoic and strong.

And they helped all of us rebuild our structures and our confidence.

Governors Ridge and Schweiker and their colleagues nationally set a path toward recovery.

And their dedication to this very site has given thousands of visitors a means to remember true heroism and real patriotism.

I thank both of them for their inspiration and service.