From GOP gubernatial hopeful Paul Schimpf:
My 9-11 remarks
I hope your weekend has been blessed and peaceful thus far.
I thought you’d be interested in my remarks from the 9-11 Commemoration today in McLean County. I was asked to speak for 5 minutes as part of the opening program. Here’s a rough transcript of the short speech I delivered.
Good morning, my name is Paul Schimpf. Thank you for coming out today to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
I was in the United States Marine Corps for 20 years as an infantry officer and a prosecutor. The best and worst day of my Marine Corps career was the day I represented the Commandant of the Marine Corps at a dignified transfer ceremony at Dover Air Force Base. That was the day we brought home one of our fallen, Staff Sergeant Leon Lucas, from Afghanistan.
It was a day of profound sadness, tragedy, and failure. The failure was because I had nothing to say that could comfort the grieving family or lessen their pain. But it was also the greatest day of my Marine Corps career because I had the privilege of witnessing and sharing a grieving family’s courage, dignity, and resolve.
That same duality is present when I think about 9/11. 9/11 was a day of terrible sadness, but it was also the time I was most proud to be an American. As we remember 9/11, we have to consider both the good and the bad.
We need to remember there is evil in this world. I don’t know why this evil hates us, whether it is based in jealousy or religion, but the reason doesn’t matter. This hatred for us will never be placated and it will never go away. And the only reason we have not suffered another horrific attack is because of the heroism of the men and women of our law enforcement and military communities.
We also need to remember the incredible sadness and tragedy of 9/11. Just like at that dignified transfer ceremony, nothing I say today can take away the pain that those who lost loved ones still feel. Moms, dads, sisters, brothers, spouses and fiancés all went to work on September 11, not knowing they’d be targeted that day, just for being Americans. The pain of loss that their loved ones suffer may be less raw now, but it will never go away.
But we also need to remember the good things about the aftermath of that despicable attack. We need to remember our first responders, who ran towards the smoke, flames, and explosions rather than running away. We need to remember the airline passengers who fought back against their hijackers and kept the tragedy from being even worse. We need to remember all of those who volunteered to serve after 9/11. Many people put aside lucrative careers because they were inspired to serve our country.
We also need to remember the way our country united. On September 12, an American flag was more difficult to purchase in a store than toilet paper at the start of the pandemic. Practically every house in America was flying an American flag. In the after math of 9/11, there were no Republicans or Democrats, no conservatives or progressives, no socialists or capitalists. We were all simply Americans.
And that brings me to the last thing we should remember on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. We need to remember that sometimes saying thank you is not enough. In addition to words, actions are required to honor those who have fallen.
We need to remember that we are strongest when we stand together. That the bonds that unite us are so much stronger than the politic squabbles that divide us.
Let’s resolve today to commemorate 9/11 by doing our part to work together and strengthen our great nation.
Thank you for coming out to commemorate 9/11. God bless you, our first responders, our service members and our veterans and God bless the United States of America. Thank you.