Columns

Blaine’s Bulletin: 17 Years

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Washington, September 14, 2018 | comments

Seventeen years ago, our nation was under attack.  We watched as planes destroyed the World Trade Center, smashed into the Pentagon, and crashed in Pennsylvania, killing thousands of Americans and crippling families around the country. America was changed forever. Terrorism was no longer a theoretical problem on the other side of the world, but an evil reality on American soil. Nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives on September 11, 2001, a day we as a nation will never forget.

Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, America has changed the way we protect our homeland. In the wake of the attacks we created the Department of Homeland Security, prioritizing the defense of our nation and our citizens. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created to keep our airports safe, and our armed forces were sent overseas to fight ever-evolving terrorist groups.

Every American was affected by the September 11th attacks in some way, no matter if they were from New York or lived here in Missouri. This year, I was reminded of the lingering tragedies still affecting Americans across the nation, nearly twenty years after the attacks.

FBI Special Agent Melissa Morrow was raised in mid-Missouri and attended the University of Missouri where she graduated Magna Cum Laude before earning her law school juris doctorate in 1994. After graduation, she began a distinguished career as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She was assigned to the Washington D.C. Field Office where she worked until 2010.

As a member of the FBI Evidence Response Team in Washington D.C., Melissa served at the Pentagon in the months following the September 11th terrorist attacks. She spent ten weeks at the Pentagon crash site and at an evidence warehouse where she later learned she was exposed to hazardous contaminants.

In 2010, Special Agent Morrow moved back to her home state, serving in the Kansas City Field Office. She earned numerous recognitions and awards for her work in the Kansas City Field Office. Unfortunately, in July 2016, she was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of glioblastoma brain cancer, attributed to her service at the Pentagon. On March 22, 2018, Special Agent Morrow passed away. I had the honor of attending her funeral in Kansas City where she was honored for her service and dedication to the nation and remembered as a fiercely loyal friend and colleague, with an infectious laugh.

Special Agent Morrow’s death is a sobering reminder of the lasting effects of September 11th. Effects that span the entire nation and touch each and every one of us. As a member of Congress I strive to always support our brave men and women who serve overseas in defense of our nation; they are the best among us and deserve our full and unwavering support. America is a resilient nation, full of brave and proud citizens.  As another somber anniversary of September 11th passes, we must honor the lives tragically lost and remember the bravery and heroism of our fellow Americans. We will never forget.

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