Washington, DC – The below is a statement by national League President Elisabeth MacNamara:

“This week the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks looms very large in the media and on our minds. It has now become routine to say that everything changed that day. Every generation can remember such a day. For my generation, it was the day President Kennedy was shot, for my father, Pearl Harbor. My children will always remember where they were on 9/11. How these catastrophic events change us depends on how we react. After Pearl Harbor, we fought a war, with an end, against forces of evil. But, those that lived through that war balanced the ongoing Cold War with real progress towards greater social and economic equality and a sense of the common good that resulted in environmental protections.  After President Kennedy was assassinated, his successor was able to pass the Voting Rights Act and wage a war on poverty.

“After ten years of fighting the war on terror, we still have the chance to turn the tragedy of 9/11 into something positive for this country, but only if organizations like the League of Women Voters and those who support us have the strength and the courage to raise our voices in support of an open and accepting society. We cannot give up and cannot give in to those who would prefer to hate and to exclude in a vain effort to make us more secure.

“The thousands who died ten years ago represented every segment of American society, from wealthy financiers, to immigrants and ordinary working folks. Whatever their status, they were all Americans that day. We honor them by renewing our efforts to invigorate our democracy.”

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The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.