Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who represents the district where the World Trade Center Towers once stood, spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 6287, the 9/11 Memorial Act, which will create a competitive grant program to provide security and operations funding to 9/11 memorials like the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan. Congressman Nadler is the lead Democratic sponsor of the bill, which passed the House unanimously.
Congressman Nadler's full remarks, as prepared, can be found below:
"Seventeen years ago, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in my district, killing thousands of people. A third plane slammed into the Pentagon, and a fourth plane – likely destined for the very Capitol complex in which we now stand – was brought down by a group of courageous passengers in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
"As I do today, I represented Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, and I was at the World Trade Center 24 hours after the towers fell. The scene was horrific: fire, smoke, debris, human remains, and twisted metal created an apocalyptic scene. Dust and debris filled the air. But even in that moment of deep despair and overwhelming horror, I saw signs of hope. Firefighters, police, and EMTs traveled to Lower Manhattan from around the country. Steelworkers, construction workers, and hundreds of other men and women rushed to pile to help. As the last fires were extinguished 99 days after the attack and the last pieces of metal were removed from Ground Zero, those feelings of hope, perseverance, and solidarity remained.
"In the years since the attacks, I have been grateful and inspired by how Congress has come together to rebuild New York, and I have worked tirelessly with my colleagues to support the responders, survivors, and families of the victims. In 2015, Congress reauthorized the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Over 88,000 9/11 responders and survivors have enrolled in the program to receive health care and support for 9/11-related illnesses. The law has also provided over $4.3 billion in compensation to responders and survivors through the Victim Compensation Fund, a program that Congress will have to reauthorize in the coming years.
"In addition to making our responders and survivors whole, Congress invested millions of dollars to help rebuild Lower Manhattan. One World Trade Center now fills the hole left in our skyline when the Towers fell, and businesses shuttered after the attack are re-opened and thriving. In what was once the shadow of the Towers there now stands a comprehensive museum dedicated to sharing the stories of September 11th and the bravery of those who risked everything to protect their fellow Americans that day.
"And, in place of the smoking hole I saw day after day in Lower Manhattan, there now sits a somber and inspiring memorial. It is a site of remembrance and hope; a place for every American to come and reflect on what happened that September morning and to renew our promise to never forget the events of that day. It is a national memorial for a national tragedy. Similarly, memorials built at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA, provide places to remember and reflect, solemn reminders of the tragedy and bravery we saw on September 11th.
"That is why I am pleased to cosponsor legislation introduced by my colleague from New Jersey, which will create a competitive grant program to provide federal support for security, operations, and maintenance for 9/11 memorials. This legislation will help ensure the memorials continue to provide sacred and inspiring spots accessible to millions of visitors for generations to come. I appreciate the bipartisan support of the members of the Natural Resources Committee and House leadership in bringing the bill to the floor today.
"I urge my colleagues to support this bill and achieve our shared goal of providing a memorial that allows our nation to mourn, reflect, and renew our promises to never forget September 11.
"Thank you, and I yield back my time."