Chief Justice Speech - September 14, 2001

National Day of Prayer and Remembrance
September 14, 2001
Phillip Burton Federal Building Plaza, San Francisco

Remarks by
Ronald M. George
Chief Justice of California

We gather here today as citizens of the world, saddened by senseless acts of hate almost too difficult to comprehend. We know that we are not alone in our grief. Not only Americans died in the tragedies of Tuesday—hundreds of citizens of nations from every part of the world were lost with them.

People from every corner of the world have expressed their deep condolences for those who have been lost and injured and for those who love them—and for the blow struck at our nation. And people in every part of the world have been reminded that when hate and evil strike, the only true victories won are by those who respond with determination, compassion, bravery, and a renewed commitment to forging a better world.

We gather here as Americans to remember those who perished Tuesday. We do not yet know the names of all of the men and women on the airliners, in the World Trade Center, and at the Pentagon, but we grieve for them, their families, and the nation. We are confident that our government will bring to justice those responsible for these horrible crimes. And together we honor the firefighters, police officers, emergency medical workers, and everyday citizens who risked their lives—often at the ultimate cost—to help others. Their acts will stand forever as an indelible symbol of the greatness of our nation.

We gather here as Californians. Our state is the most diverse society in the history of humankind. We have learned to value that diversity and to teach tolerance for people of all cultures and religions. Out of that diversity has come our strength. Over the next several days, we will be challenged not to confuse the acts of a few madmen with those of our friends and neighbors; not to respond blindly, but to respond justly. That, after all, is something we all can do—hold close to the rule of law from which the strength and power of our nation and our state derive.

Like an earthquake, this tragedy has taken from us the comfort of a sense of stability and predictability. But as we did after the earthquakes, we shall move forward and rebuild and renew. And in doing so we stand together with the people of our state, our nation, and the world in offering our sympathy for those who have lost so much, our gratitude to those who have given so greatly, and our determination that we shall prevail over hate.

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