Lexington, Mo.— House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the following statement in advance of tomorrow’s anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks:

“As we mark nine years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we have an obligation to remember those who were killed and pay tribute to those who have fought and died to protect our nation against further terrorist attacks.  Those who lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors will never be able to replace those whose lives were so brutally taken.  We will never know how much we lost as a nation when so many lives were cut short, so many dreams and destinies left unfulfilled.

“But we do know that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the world got to see America at its best – a nation coming together and thousands of patriots coming forward to serve and protect the United States.  We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all of the first responders and military service members who work every day to protect their fellow citizens and keep our nation secure.

“Over the last two years, we have returned our focus to the war in Afghanistan and made unprecedented gains in our efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat the terrorists who wish to harm us.  The United States and our allies have made significant progress against al Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist organizations, but it is important for us to maintain our focus on this objective over the long haul. America’s security depends on our success in denying al Qaeda breathing room to plot future attacks on the U.S. and our allies.  As we remember the fallen today, all of us must renew our commitment to do all that is necessary to protect our families, our communities, and our nation.”