It’s been fifteen years and a day since our city — the city that my family and I now proudly call home - awoke to what pilots call a “severe clear sky”; a sky so blue, so clear that no one could have been faulted for starting off their day with boundless optimism.
It’s been fifteen years and a day since our city — just as it was coming alive - saw its severe clear sky and its optimistic outlook turn gray by boundless expansion of the sorrowful smoke emerging from its pierced towers.
It’s been fifteen years and a day since our city - just as it was recovering from the shock of attack - instinctively realized - that the world it had known at the start of the 21st century had forever been transformed.
we gather to honor the memory
and celebrate the lives
of the victims of 9/11 —
the lives of those that were lost on that fateful day,
and the lives of those that have been lost to the waves
of intolerance, xenophobia, terrorism and war
that have engulfed the world since then.
And while the void in our hearts will never be filled;
the distance of time affords us the benefit of optimism.
it was the generosity of our collective spirit that allowed the barrenness of Ground Zero to give way to a beautiful 9/11 memorial and museum;
the audacity of our collective spirit that allowed the fractured skyline of our City to be healed by the Freedom Tower;
and the resilience of our collective spirit that allowed the shaken confidence of our community to emerge stronger than ever.
And it is invoking this sense of optimism,
that I call on all of us here today,
to recommit to our role as educators;
to redouble our efforts to expand opportunity;
and to reenergize our work to democratize knowledge.
I am confident that in doing so, we’ll accelerate the drive to a more peaceful world.