Daily Local News
Congressman Joe Pitts still has visions of the black smoke rising from the Pentagon seconds after the terrorist attacks on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. He said those images will remain with him the rest of his life.
Pitts, R-16th, of East Marlborough, was driving by the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon, killing all 64 people aboard the aircraft and 125 inside the Pentagon.
“I remember seeing the black smoke and I was talking to my staff in the Capitol as I was on my way there,” Pitts said. “I think in the first few weeks after that, there was a real sense of unity in this country. A lot of it still remains as far as the war on terrorism is concerned.”
Pitts, 72, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served from 1963 to 1969, said it’s important for the U.S. to remain vigilant with its war against terrorism.
“The memories of that day, though painful, serve as a stark reminder of the terrorist threat that we continue to face today,” he said. “As we commemorate our nation’s great loss, we must also renew our commitment to defeating the forces of evil that seek our destruction. Defeating terrorism is a difficult job, but today we are reminded of why it must be done.”
Pitts said the American people are much safer today than they were 10 years ago. “9/11 has changed everything, and with the actions we’ve taken, we’re safer and more aware,” he said. “Today there’s a lot of awareness and preparedness for emergencies and responses at public places and public gatherings.”
Pitts said the U.S. war on terrorism will never end.
“The terrorist attacks and attempts here at home reinforce the need for our military to root out our enemies overseas,” Pitts said. “It reminds us why our soldiers are fighting al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world.
“From their bases in Afghanistan, with the full support of the Taliban government, al-Qaida was able to plan and execute the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. These attacks are not ancient history, but we must not forget what a dedicated terrorist organization can do when they have safe haven and the tacit support of a government.”
Pitts said the freedoms Americans enjoy are a threat to some extremists and their way of life.
Read more: http://dailylocal.com/articles/2011/09/12/news/srv0000013553934.txt