Sen. Lindsey Graham reflects on 20th anniversary of 9/11

Since that day, Graham built a reputation as a powerful voice for tough national security.
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 1:10 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - It’s 20 years since the terror attacks on September 11th and members of Congress who were in office on that day are reflecting on this somber milestone. Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham shares his memories and message moving forward.

The morning of September 11th, 2001, then-Representative Lindsey Graham was in his DC home, preparing for a meeting on Capitol Hill. At 9:05 a.m. news broke the World Trade Center and the Pentagon – were under attack – the U.S. Capitol was evacuated.

“My staff didn’t know where to go, so they came to my house, which is on Capitol Hill, and we sat there all day to watch the TV coverage,” said Graham.

Graham says lawmakers were determined to overpower the evil and horror of that day with a symbol of unity.

“I was mad. I was heartbroken,” said Graham. “We met on the steps of the Capitol, the House and the Senate, and somebody behind me started singing ‘God Bless America’, and I’ll never forget that as long as I live.”

Graham vowed to do everything in his power to prevent another 9/11. He’s since traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan 57 times - as a lawmaker and as a member of the Air Force. Today, he worries the Biden administration’s troop withdrawal in Afghanistan leads to instability.

“My big fear is that the terrorist groups that are regenerating as I speak, our goal is to keep them over there, so they can’t come here,” said Graham.

Graham calls for the U.S. military to maintain small forces in high-risk regions in the Middle East and in Africa. He says there’s a national security interest in supporting the locals fighting extremists.

“Let’s say a prayer for all those who died, and all those who have sacrificed for the last 20 years, and let’s educate those who are too young to remember that day about the consequences of America letting her guard down,” said Graham.

Moving forward, Graham says one of his top national security concerns is on Iran and preventing the nation and other terror groups from obtaining nuclear and biological weapons.

Photojournalist/Editor Tyler Smith contributed to this report.

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