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Mayor's Office Heading City Letter Head

Mayor's Remarks
Sept. 14 Candlelight Vigil at State Capitol

September 17, 2001

Since the fateful, tragic events of September 11, our city and our nation have been united in a way we have rarely experienced before. We are united in shock, fear, anger and grief, but also in hope. We ask, "What can we do to make a difference today and tomorrow."

We can display our unity by flying our flag. We can donate blood and give financial support to help the victims of this tragedy. And we can pray.

We are a nation of diversity - we donít all believe in the same God. But all of us are gathered here tonight because we believe in the power of prayer. I would like to share a reading from Psalms, Chapter 18:

"The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my strength in whom I will trust. I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be safe from my enemies. The sorrows of death encompassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. In my distress, I called upon the Lord. He heard my voice."

We pray tonight that our voices be heard for all those who have lost their lives and those suffering the loss of loved ones.

We pray for those brave men and women who are risking their own lives in the aftermath, especially for our own search and rescue team from Lincoln who leave a week from today to fulfill their duty to their nation.

We pray for personal strength - that we not allow our anger to turn into hatred -- the kind of hatred that led to the senseless destruction we witnessed this week.

And we pray that neighbor will not turn against neighbor. No true American would harass or threaten fellow citizens who came here from other nations to build new lives.

The eyes of the world are on America. We must continue to be the example of what freedom, democracy and tolerance are all about.

What have Americans shown so far? The people of the world have seen a country come together. In Lincoln alone, the outpouring of community support has been unprecedented.

In the days ahead, "we the people" will remain united.

For many of us, these dark days remind us of other national tragedies - the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the assassination of President Kennedy.

In the days and years that followed those tragedies, our nation did more than survive - we grew stronger.

September 11, 2001 will be a day none of us will ever forget. Nor will we forget the victims of this brutal terrorism. This attack hit home and it hit hard.

We must now grow stronger and more united than ever, rededicated to the principles that founded our nation - freedom, liberty and justice.

President Lincoln said at Gettysburg:

"It is for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us...that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that Government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Together, with the help of God Almighty, we will rebuild from the ashes of this attack a new foundation for an even stronger America.

I will close with a quote from President Kennedy that sums up our national resolve:

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty."

Thank you for being here tonight. God bless America.

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