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May 03 2011

'Justice is Served'

Remarks as prepared for delivery

M. President –

Osama bin Laden’s death is a historic and just victory for this nation.

While this is a profound victory for the war on terror, our thoughts must go to the thousands of innocent men and women who lost family members – and whose lives were forever changed – by the tragedies of September 11. 

The families of those lost and our nation as a whole can take great pride that our brave servicemembers and intelligence community successfully carried out this mission. I could not be more proud of the outstanding men and women of our military who put their lives on the line daily to defend this nation.

Each and every one of us has a deeply personal connection to the tragic events of September 11. At the time, I was West Virginia’s Secretary of State. I remember staff coming into my office, and they said “Did you see what’s going on?” That’s all they said, and that’s all they had to say.

So many Americans have similar stories. We watched in horror as the second plane hit the World Trade Center live on television, and I knew that something we could never anticipate and never imagine had just happened to our great country. We didn’t know how our lives would change, but we knew they would.

In West Virginia, like states all over this country, we are still mourning those we lost. A WVU quarterback and a WVU economics graduate who were both killed in the World Trade Center’s North Tower. A Parkersburg High School graduate who perished in the South Tower. And a Marshall University Medical School graduate who was killed when the airliner he was on crashed into the Pentagon. Our thoughts and prayers will always be with them and with their families.

Just like our world changed that terrible day, it has changed yet again with the killing of Osama bin Laden. It means something different to each of us. Osama bin Laden’s death cannot bring back the thousands of lives that were lost that fateful day, or the ones that have been lost at the hands of al Qaeda since. It cannot repair the anguish so many have suffered as a result of the evil and hatred that Osama bin Laden espoused.

But it is justice, and I hope that this nation and the families of those who were lost on September 11 can take solace in that fact. 

Let me also say that I am so proud of the resolve, the strength, and the fortitude that this nation showed in pursuing this mission to its end. 

With the killing of Osama bin Laden, the United States has sent a message loud and clear: acts of terrorism against this nation will not go unpunished. If you seek to do harm to this country, or if you plan to hurt the people of this nation, we will find you and, I assure you, justice will be served.

While this success belongs to all of us, I especially want to thank the teams of people who united to accomplish this most important goal. President Obama and his advisers completed the mission, and I congratulate him for that. He was the one who made the difficult decision to order this mission, and he made the right call.

And immense credit must also be given to all of the people in the intelligence community who have worked tirelessly to track down the world’s most wanted terrorist. And I also congratulate Presidents Clinton and Bush and the commitment their teams showed in fighting the war on terror.

Finally, I hope we sustain the spirit of unity we all feel at this moment to put politics aside and remind Americans that as a great nation we become greater when we unite behind a common purpose.

And for these reasons, I strongly support Senate Resolution 159.

And may God continue to bless the United States of America. 

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