No American will ever forget where they were and what they were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001. The world changed in an instant before our own eyes, and it is hard to believe these tragic events took place nearly 20 years ago.

Like many, I remember watching the horror unfold on television. I had a feeling of helplessness knowing that people were suffering and dying right before our eyes. No one that experienced the sheer terror of this day will ever forget the feelings that came with it. Though this solemn anniversary brings many terrible emotions with it each year, we all remember the resilience of the American people when we think back to this day and the days that followed. Our people responded in unity, with determination to defend this land and one another.

The victims of that fateful day and the heroes who emerged will live forever in the hearts of the American people. Today and every day, we remember their brave sacrifice. I hope Alabamians will join me in marking this day by remembering those we lost: the first responders who ran into flaming buildings, the soldiers who volunteered to serve in the aftermath, the bystanders, and many more. My deepest prayers remain with the families of those who lost loved ones.

Although this day brings about grievous memories, I am reminded today of the well-known photograph of three New York City firefighters raising the American Flag at Ground Zero of the World Trade Center following the attacks. During the country’s darkest hours, the American Flag served as a symbol of hope for a heartbroken nation. This image still stands as a reminder that our country will always persevere, no matter what may come our way.

I encourage you to take some time today to reflect on how our world has changed and to renew our commitment to work together as Americans to ensure the United States remains a nation of greatness, strength, and resilience.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.

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