Fifteen years ago, on September 11, 2001, we witnessed the worst attack in our nation’s history. As we look back and remember the day that changed our nation forever, we come together to remember and also to look forward.
In continuing to look forward, the Department commemorated the federal government’s return to One World Trade Center on Friday. Secretary Johnson said, “It is a sign of our determination to move forward and to come back stronger than ever before. Literally out of the ashes, we have rebuilt stronger and taller.”
Secretary Johnson was joined by the Department’s leadership and employees, as well as federal, state, and local partners to commemorate this momentous day.
Speaking at the event, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “the federal government is back in strength here at the World Trade Center – a message to the entire world that we will never ever renounce our values or be afraid.”
U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Denise Turner Roth also participated in the event. Apart from DHS, GSA is the only other federal tenant taking up residence inside the building. In all, over 900 federal employees will now come to work at One World Trade Center every day.
Michael Byrne, the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region 2 also shared his experiences. Mike isn’t just a public servant – he is a lifelong New Yorker and a shining example of American resilience. He was part of the first fire company to respond in 1993 after the World Trade Center was bombed. On September 11, 2001, Mike, then working for FEMA, responded to Ground Zero to do what he could to help. In the aftermath of the attacks, Mike was part of the team that helped form the Department of Homeland Security. Now, he comes to work every day at One World Trade Center. ”When I come into the office here, I walk past the memorials remembering my lost friends and colleagues. And walking by, I’ll stop and look at some of the names of friends I knew. I remember the times we had together.”
On Sunday, Secretary Johnson joined other leaders and the families of the victims of September 11 during the ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial.
With each name read and each bell marking a moment of silence tolled, we are reminded that we are a nation of courageous, strong and resilient people.
9/11 changed our nation forever, but it did not change fundamental American values. The dedicated men and women of DHS will continue to work with honor and integrity to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.