September 9, 2016 — New York, New York
In reverence for the memories of the innocents and fallen heroes, and solemn resolve that preventing more such terrorist tragedies will remain a central moral imperative of our era, AJC marks the fifteenth anniversary of September 11, 2001 - a date that changed the world.
On that day, America suffered a grievous blow.
We vividly recall our feelings that day as citizens of our beloved United States, as Jews faced with scurrilous conspiracy theories, as human beings in a suddenly far more dangerous world.
We will never forget the loss of the nearly 3,000 men, women and children who perished that day at the hands of 19 terrorists and their masterminds.
And we will ever strive to honor the memories of those brave first responders who gave their own lives to save others.
We lost our neighbors and friends and family members, and our commonplace assurance of everyday safety, as commercial airliners seized by murderous jihadist fanatics plowed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, into the Pentagon, and into a field in Pennsylvania.
We soon learned that the terrorists were part of a larger movement, one founded on a radical interpretation of Islam that despises the principles of democracy, pluralism, gender equality, and religious freedom, which are at the core of America's values.
We also learned that our nations could no longer dismiss or minimize the rhetoric of fanatics wherever they are -- or underestimate their determination to fulfill their absolutist, demonic vision. For them, globalization is a means to break down civilization as we know it.
Indeed, since that day, radical Islamist terrorists have struck, with fatal results, in, among many other places, Amman, Bali, Bangkok, Boston, Brussels, Burgas, Dakah, Cairo, Casablanca, Copenhagen, Djerba, Fort Hood, Istanbul, Jakarta, London, Madrid, Mumbai, Nairobi, Nice, Orlando, Ottawa, Paris, San Bernardino, Sydney, Tunis, Toulouse, in Egypt's Red Sea resorts, across Nigeria's northern region, and in the cities and towns of Israel.
We reassert our steadfast commitment to join with people of good will in the United States and around the world -- of all ethnicities and faiths -- in affirming our shared values, as well as our determination to defeat those who seek to harm us.
The Jewish High Holy Days, commencing next month, are a time for reflection and renewal.
We will continue to pray for all who have lost their lives and been scarred by terror, for the men and women who today are protecting our freedom, and for the day when this nation and the entire world will know an era of peace and universal bonds of friendship and respect -- the very antithesis of what the 9/11 homicidal jihadists espoused.