WASHINGTON — The anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was observed Thursday by Asian Pacific American elected officials and organizations, including the following:

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “We must never forget those who were lost 13 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001. On that day, we saw amazing acts of bravery by not only first responders, but by everyday Americans as well. Our thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families, as well as the brave men and women who subsequently risked their lives to defeat terrorism.”

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena): “Thirteen years ago today, I was in my apartment in Sacramento, getting ready to go to the Capitol for my job at the State Assembly, when I turned on the television and saw the unthinkable: two airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center. Our country changed forever in that instant – we witnessed incredible heroism and met fear with national solidarity. We will never forget the men and women who lost their lives in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon that Sept. 11.”

Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose): “I was working in Washington, D.C. when I first learned of the attack on the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The entire Capitol, House, and Senate office buildings were evacuated before 10 a.m. I still remember the uncertainty, tragedy, and despair I felt that day. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was affected by this tragedy.

“In the months and years that followed, when I sat on the Transportation Committee, I helped pass legislation to make our skies safer. Yet, the legislation we pass in Washington has no meaning without the dedication and service by those rescuers who responded to the attacks that morning, and by those who work today to keep our communities and country safe. Thank you all for your service to our nation.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “Today we honor and remember all of those who tragically lost their lives in the terrorist attacks 13 years ago on Sept. 11. We will never forget that day, and our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and loved ones who were left behind. But on that day of sadness and tears, there were also incredible acts of heroism, and today we pay tribute to the brave heroes whose actions that fateful day saved the lives of many. We honor their selflessness by marking the anniversary not only as a day of remembrance, but as a day of service.”

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Rancho Cordova): “Today, my thoughts are with the families of those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001. Our country must never forget what happened on that tragic day, including the bravery and heroism of the firefighters, police, and others who sacrificed to save others.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): “Today we reflect on the unconscionable loss of nearly 3,000 innocent lives in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. These Americans were mothers, fathers, siblings and children of those who were left behind to grieve this senseless loss. While this date is a painful reminder each year, we must never allow ourselves to forget the events of that horrific day. My prayers remain with the families of those who lost loved ones that day, and I share my deepest gratitude to those servicemembers and first responders who have sacrificed so much to keep our people safe.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “Today we remember the loved ones our country lost on 9/11 13 years ago. Whether it was the firefighters and police running into the World Trade Center, the heroes of Flight 93 or the American people standing together as one, our response to 9/11 truly reflected the American spirit. Today, let us honor the victims of Sept. 11 by recommitting ourselves to the values of freedom, democracy and diversity, and by reminding our children what our nation is all about.”

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.): “Thirteen years since 9/11, we continue to remember all the victims from that awful day. They and their families will always remain in our thoughts and prayers.”

Statement from OCA

OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership-driven organization of community advocates dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans, solemnly reflects on our fallen heroes and the lives lost during the tragic events that transpired on Sept. 11 13 years ago.

“On this day, we remember the brave men and women, like emergency nurse Rebecca Canalija and firefighter Benny Hom, who selflessly risked their lives aiding those trapped by fallen debris or injured in the ensuing chaos,” says Sharon M. Wong, OCA national president. “Neither do we forget the victims of this tragic moment in our nation’s history or the valiant heroes who gave their lives to help the fallen.”

Post-Sept. 11, 2001, racial profiling, harassment, bullying, and hate crimes against individuals from the South Asian and Middle Eastern communities have dramatically increased.

“My heart goes out to all the families and victims of Sept. 11. It was a terrible tragedy and loss for our country. But we, as a society, must also face the actions that our prejudices and fears have produced post-9/11. The hate and harassment that the South Asian and Middle Eastern communities continue to endure, along with the xenophobic rhetoric employed in the media and among even our own policy-makers, are not the answer to ensuring our national security,” said Ken Lee, OCA national acting CEO.

“It was only 72 years ago that Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Roosevelt leading to the internment and civil rights violation of over 120,000 Japanese Americans. Such an infringement of civil liberties must never happen again. Thwarting threats to our national security should not come at the expense of our civil liberties. It is most important in times of crisis to ensure the civil rights of all Americans. We must move forward together as a people, a community, and a country instead of scapegoating and blaming the innocent.”

To learn more about the contributions of Asian Pacific Americans during 9/11, please inquire about “Voices of Healing: Spirit and Unity After 9/11 in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community,” a book produced by OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates and East West Discovery Press documenting the stories of unsung APA heroes and victims.

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