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20 years later: former House Speaker Paul Ryan shares 9/11 memories

Published: Sep. 11, 2021 at 9:27 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Recently, Gray Television Washington News Bureau’s David Ade spoke with former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) about the 20th year anniversary of September 11th, 2001. Ryan also spoke about his ensuing vote to authorize military force in Afghanistan and what he believes of the U.S. removal of troops from Afghanistan. Ryan also discusses who he believes deserve recognition as the nation remembers 9/11.

Ryan remembers being at the White House talking about the budget as the planes hit the World Trade Center in New York. He then returned to Capitol Hill amid panic and tried to find safety, along with his staff, at a home about three blocks from the Capitol building.

Paul Ryan: It was very scary, I remember doing a lot of praying with my staff. My wife is with us at the time, she came she had come up from Janesville when she was pregnant with her first child, and she was sleeping in because she was pregnant, I woke her up to tell her what was happening. It was very disconcerting for her. So I just remember those little things.

David Ade: At the time when you voted to authorize for us in Afghanistan, did you imagine that this would kind of be how it played out 20 years later?

PR: I think we went in with probably higher expectations than what we could achieve. But the base take away in Afghanistan, that is the lesson that we should never forget, have we prevented Afghanistan from being afraid in ground for terrorist groups to reconstitute themselves to attack our homeland? And the answer is yes, we have prevented that, and that is what I really fear the decision both presidents Trump and Biden have made the wrong decision, dangerous decisions. I know they are tired of this but you can’t be more tired than the terrorists. So I think both presidents made the wrong decision and as a result they are going to allow Afghanistan to be another potential hotbed for terrorists reconstitution.

DA: As we wrap up are there any other messages you want people around Wisconsin or around the country to hear as they remember?

PR: I think it’s a time to take stock and just be grateful for this entire generation of young Americans who stepped up, our first responders, our police, or fire, or military, or homeland security or Central intelligence agency, the Pentagon, all of these security departments state local federal, really have done their job and they have kept us and their families safe, and we should be eternally grateful to them for that.

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