Columns

Blaine’s Bulletin: We Will Never Forget

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Washington, September 13, 2019 | comments

This week, our nation honored the 2,977 people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

Eighteen years later, the death toll is still rising. It is expected that deaths resulting from 9/11-related illnesses will soon exceed those who perished on that fateful day in 2001. More than 10 times the number of NYPD officers who died on September 11th have passed away in the 18 years since. Just last month, President Donald Trump signed into law legislation to permanently authorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. I was proud to co-sponsor this legislation and support families from coast to coast who are still reliving the horror of that day as their loved ones succumb to illnesses nearly two decades 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 July 2016, Special Agent Morrow 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.

First responders and ordinary citizens selflessly putting their lives on the line for their fellow Americans revealed the best of our nation on that fateful day. September 11, 2001 would forever change the America we know and love. Terrorism was no longer a theoretical problem on the other side of the world, but an evil reality on American soil.

Eighteen years later, young adults, high school students, and children across this nation have only ever lived in a post-September 11th world where they learned of the events of that fateful day from second-hand recollections. It is our responsibility as a nation to continue to instill the significance of this day and ensure future generations continue to honor the stories of heroism and remember the bravery that forever changed our nation.

We often hear about what divides our country, but as another anniversary of September 11th comes and goes, I hope we can all embody what it truly means to be an American. We are a resilient nation and together we will never forget the courage and strength of our fellow Americans on September 11, 2001.

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