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Former Governor Jim Gilmore Remembers 9/11 When He Held Office

Gilmore was Governor of Virginia on 9/11

James Stuart Gilmore III was the 68th Governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002. (Courtesy photo)

Today, I join with all Americans as we remember those we lost 16 years ago and honor our first responders, some who gave the ultimate sacrifice as they battled to save their fellow citizens.

As Governor on 9/11, I saw first-hand the sacrifice, commitment, and determination of our first responders when I visited the Pentagon following the attack. I was horrified by the sheer destruction rendered by those trying to tear asunder our beloved country and society. 

Arlington, Virginia (Sept. 11, 2001) — A 200-foot gash exposes interior sections of the Pentagon following a suspected terrorist crash of a commercial airliner into the southwest corner of the building. Part of the building has collapsed meanwhile firefighters continue to battle the flames and look for survivors. An exact number of casualties are unknown. The building was evacuated, as were the federal buildings in the Capitol area, including the White House. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Bob Houlihan (RELEASED)

As chief executive of the Commonwealth, my first priority was to reassure the public that their government was fully engaged in the crisis.  On that day, my duty was to coordinate with the state police, activate the national guard, and address the state on the event to reassure the public that their government was in action.  In the days that followed, I visited the injured in the hospital, and consoled families of those that perished.

I was honored this past Saturday to speak at the Arlington County Police, Fire, and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K. All those who responded that day once again demonstrated selflessness and devotion to community as they went about their business saving lives.  During a time of exceptional peril to our citizens and to themselves personally, these safety professionals found within them the courage to remain true to their values and apply their skills and competencies to the dangers at hand.

Most important of all, I am reminded of the love of country and fellow citizens that brought us all together in the aftermath of the attack.  I sincerely hope that we can remember that only when we are united and focused on our shared values of life and liberty, can continue to demonstrate to the world we will never allow those that try to tear us apart to succeed.


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