As we enter the month of September, we approach the most solemn of days for many here in New York and across our country. Every year Rockland County holds a commemoration for the local victims of the September 11th attacks. Family members, clergy and local residents come together to support each other and remember those that have passed.
We will soon observe the 18th anniversary of these heinous attacks, I urge all of you to join us this year at Haverstraw Bay County Park at 8:30 AM, Wednesday, September 11, in support of those who come every year to remember their loved ones and mourn their loss.
We all have wounds from that day and the days since. Some wounds are physical, like for those who survived that day but with devastating injuries. Many were wounded or worse in the wars that were fought to defend our freedom. Countless others have fallen ill in the years since because they responded to this tragedy without thought of their own well-being.
It is expected that by the 20th anniversary of September 11th, more people will have died from 9/11-related illnesses than the almost 3,000 who died that day. And while I am thankful that the US Congress passed, and the President signed the bill providing increased funding to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, we must continue to stand by those who lost loved ones on that day and those who have since passed.
We must come together again this year, as friends, family, neighbors, an entire County united to speak loudly and clearly in support of the families who have suffered a grievous loss and for those who are still now losing their loved ones. When we remember these events, we must look at the continuing effects; we are still losing heroes to post 9/11 illnesses.
The wounds from that day and since will forever be etched on our hearts, souls and bodies. To that end, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that a tragedy of this magnitude never happens again. But the mere fact that we still come together as a community shows that the tragic deaths and the deaths of those in the almost 18 years since have unified this nation against hatred, against terrorism, against anything or anyone that threatens our freedom and our families.
When we mark this anniversary, let us not dwell on the pain or the loss. Let us instead focus on how we came together and continue to support each other despite any challenge. When we truly unite, there is no obstacle we cannot overcome. I hope to see you all there.