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I extend my deepest gratitude to our Armed Forces and first responders serving both at home and abroad in the war against terrorism.
On Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked, 'What God do you pray to?' What beliefs do you hold?'
Every day, first responders put their own lives on the line to ensure our safety. The least we can do is make sure they have the tools to protect and serve their communities.
The National Guard has served America as both a wartime force and the first military responders in times of domestic crisis. Hundreds of times each year, the nation's governors call upon their Guard troops to respond to fires, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
As we try to compete in this global marketplace, we need to rebuild our infrastructure. We need to rebuild our schools. We need to make sure that teachers and first responders and veterans who are coming home from serving our country so proudly have jobs waiting for them.
To mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, I wanted to launch an FDNY shirt that pays tribute to the brave first responders who, like my father, risk their lives in the line of duty on a regular basis. All of the proceeds raised from the sale of the T-shirt benefit the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund.
I have this dream that the first responders to 911 calls will not be law enforcement personnel but robots. Robots can put eyes and ears on the scene much faster than you can with policemen or women.
We need strong public health institutions to respond to any challenge. We need to deal with critical infrastructure. The reality is that very little money has flowed to communities to help our first responders; to help our hospitals; to help the public health infrastructure.
In modern warfare, journalists are among the first responders, seeking out truth in the turmoil and wreckage, wherever it takes them.
First responders will be on the frontlines if there is a terrorist attack in our communities, and we must provide them with the tools they need to do their difficult jobs.
The men and women who serve this great nation, whether they are stationed in Iraq, Fort Riley, or the Korean Peninsula, or they serve us at home as our community first responders, serve because they believe in America.
From the Bush Administration to the 9-11 Commission, there is an urgent and universally recognized need to change the broken formula through which Homeland Security grant money currently is allocated to our first responders.
Connecticut's first responders and defense workers work every day to help us achieve these goals.
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