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Senators Grassley and Thune reflect on 20th anniversary of 9/11

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 1:14 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - It’s 20 years since the terror attacks on September 11th, where terrorists targeted the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon. Members of Congress who were in office on that day are reflecting on this somber milestone.

Congressional leaders - Senators John Thune and Chuck Grassley - share their memories and message moving forward.

The morning of September 11th, 2001, Senator Chuck Grassley was in the middle of a radio interview when the Capitol was forced to evacuate.

”Policemen were knocking on the door ‘you’ve got to get out of here’,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

The attacks hit close to home, with hijackers plowing into the Pentagon just a few miles from the Capitol. And the heroes of United Flight 93 overtook the hijackers – who were heading for DC – and crashed into a field.

”If that plane hadn’t been down in Pennsylvania, you look back and say, ‘was it going to hit the Capitol? Was it going to hit the White House? One or the other,” mused Grassley.

Grassley reflects on how the nation rallied around patriotism and officials tightened security systems, with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration.

”We didn’t know much about the enemy of 9-11 at the time; we know a lot more now than we did,” said Grassley.

Back then, Senator John Thune was a member of the House of Representatives. When the Capitol evacuated, he and his wife went to at staffer’s home nearby. From there, they called their young daughters back in South Dakota to let them know they were safe

”The sentiment that most Americans had that day was, ‘are we safe and are we going to get the people who did this’? So both answers, I think, after 9-11 were true,” said Senator John Thune (R-S.D.).

Thune credits the U.S. military and the intelligence community with preventing another 9/11. But he says national security remains a concern, especially as it relates to cyber security and terror groups in parts of the Middle East and Africa.

”That threat continues to exist. There are lots of bad people out there who for ideological reasons are aligned against the United States and the things that we stand for, and we just have to be prepared to deal with that,” said Thune.

Photojournalist/Editor Tyler Smith contributed to this report.

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