It’s hard to believe that it has already been 11 years since the terrorist attacks on 9/11.  I still vividly remember where I was.  I was teaching a high school Bible class, the first class of the day, at South Haven Christian School near Valparaiso, IN when I got word that the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  Right after class I learned of the South Tower being hit and then the Pentagon.

We all knew it was a terrorist attack when the second plane hit.  Right before we had a special chapel session to call the staff and students to prayer we learned of a fourth flight – United Airlines Flight 93 still being in the air.

I know I felt various emotions throughout the day, and with the students struggled to make sense of it all as we watched it unfold with the news coverage.  As the years have gone by those emotions have been dulled.  It would be easy to let the memories of this day fade, but we can never do that as a nation.  We must never forget.  We can never be complacent.

So today I’ll take time, and encourage you to join me, to thank God for our freedom, pray for the victims families, pray for our leaders, and pray for our troops who are still in harm’s way.

From my inbox today…

Today Iowa 1st Congressional District Candidate, Ben Lange, said in a released statement:

Today we come together to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and the tragedies of war that followed. We honor those who lost their lives on that fateful day. We offer our eternal gratitude to those men and women who sacrificed everything so that we may be free. We reaffirm our commitment to their cause and ask God to grant us wisdom in the days ahead.

Mitt Romney said today we stand tall for freedom and peace:

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.

Congressman Steve King remembers our unity during this national tragedy:

Today we remember the innocent lives lost and honor the heroes of the horrible tragedy that took place on September 11, 2001.  No one will ever forget where they were when they first heard the news and watched in shock as our country was attacked. Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who are still mourning for their lost loved ones. We also owe a great deal of gratitude to the first responders, the men and women in uniform who helped save many lives while risking their own and those who answered the call to continue to defend our freedoms. May we never forget their great service to our country.

Eleven years ago, our Nation was attacked in order to divide the American spirit and try to force us to lose hope in a time of tragedy. Yet, Americans came together like never before in a spirit of unity. Let the remembrance of today inspire us to join together with that same compassion and love and once again renew our sense of common purpose as Americans.

Karen Harrington who is running against Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said today that we must remain vigilant:

Today marks the anniversary of one of the darkest days in our great country’s  history. Let’s continue to  remember  those who perished 11 years ago, as well as the people who gave their lives to defend our freedoms in the subsequent military conflicts  aimed at hunting down the radical Islamists responsible for the attacks.

We must not forget that the fight against Radical Islam is far from over, and that as Americans, we must stay vigilant against any future aggression to our American way of life.

Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan said this morning:

Eleven years ago today, from Capitol Hill, I could see the smoke rising from the fires burning in the Pentagon. Like all Americans, I will never forget the moment that our homeland came under attack. For me, this is a day to remember those who perished on that day of terror, including the first responders. It is also a day to pay tribute to all those who have worked quietly and tirelessly both on the home front and abroad to prevent a repetition of such terrible events. And it is a day to give honor to those in our military who have sacrificed so much, including their lives, for the same end.  Their courage and heroism and willingness to answer the call of duty have kept America safe and strong and free.  We are truly the home of the brave.

Rick Santorum also wanted to honor those who had been lost:

Karen and I wanted to take a moment to honor those who lost their lives and whose lives were changed forever on September 11, 2001.  We were all changed that day, but there are many who gave so much – many who paid the ultimate price – fighting for freedom on that day and the days that followed.  We honor them today.

Eleven years later, we still vividly remember the heroism and courage of those who fought back against the terrorists.  That day was a dark day for our country, but demonstrated what is great about America: Nothing can break the spirit of our great country.

Today we honor those who sacrificed on the planes, in the World Trade Center towers, in the Pentagon, on a field in Pennsylvania, our intelligence communities, and of course, the men and women in uniform who fight for our freedoms.

We will never forget.

Update: I received statements from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds this afternoon.

“We must never forget the terrible atrocities of that fateful day, and we must continue to promote this great experiment that is America. Iowans answered the call of duty on 9/11, and have every day since. As our Iowa military service members so bravely responded with their determination, I hope all Iowans will take time today to remember the sacrifices of our service members and their families.” – Gov. Terry E. Branstad

“Today we remember those who perished in the deliberate, violent attack on our nation. The terrorists hoped to tear a hole in the fabric of our ideals, but instead Americans responded with a strengthened resolve as a united country. I encourage all Iowans to take a moment, remember those we lost, and pledge their time and energy to make this country a better place for all who reside within its borders.” – Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds

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