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Page last updated on September 7, 2021 at 1:39 pm

Thank you all for being here, and thank Chancellor Vaughan, Bob Loviscek, and all who made this beautiful monument and memorial, and who make this ceremony happen. It is good to be together here and now on this morning, this September 11th day, locally, and in spirit with people all around our country, indeed the world, remembering this day from 18 years ago.

Since this memorial was dedicated three years ago, it’s been a powerful symbol for me, and a place for personal dedication, to keep working on remembering the past and committing to making the future better. We remember today that military personnel is in harm’s way even still, in response to this attack on America. We remember today the role of education institutions like Ivy Tech in furthering the understandings that allow communities and countries and our planet to thrive with better awareness of how conflicts arise, how we can resolve them, how diversity is a strength and tolerance a value worth nurturing.

We know September 11, 2001, was the worst foreign attack on American soil, with 3,000 of our fellow Americans killed in just a couple of dreadful hours. That awful distinction of most-deadly-attack was held for 59 years by another surprise attack on Americans, when 2,400 were killed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, also in the brief span of just a few hours.

My wife Dawn and I recently had the chance for the first time to visit that beautiful, stunning harbor in our 50th state, with mayors from all over America, of all colors, faiths, and stripes. Hawaii you may know is a state where no ethnicity or race makes up a majority – all are minorities there. We had a solemn visit to the Arizona memorial, as taps were played and we cast memorial flowers into the water, remembering those lost that December day 78 years ago. The Arizona memorial there, like this one before us, helps us remember, and honor, and understand, what happened and its importance.

I share the Pearl Harbor story because it comes with a powerful example set by two cities after the global devastations of World War II. The city where America’s involvement in the war began directly – Honolulu – and the city where the war with America was essentially ended – Hiroshima. The city where an infamous surprise morning attack killed thousands and brought America into that global war, and the city where a devastating, previously unknown weapon killed tens of thousands of civilians in a moment and brought the war to a close.

Out of that awful violence and years of killing came an alliance. In the 1950s those two cities that book-ended World War 2, Honolulu and Hiroshima, entered the People to People program. And by 1959, 14 years after the end of the war, they became formal sister cities.

When we think about the atmosphere in those cities, and countries, at that time, the cultural wounds and social and physical and psychological wounds from a worldwide war, the animosities and suspicions, racism and demonizing that abounded. It’s instructive to recall that two communities overcame all that and connected in peace and toward peace. Because not only did Honolulu and Hiroshima work together toward their own reconciliation and cooperation, they actually became leaders in working across the globe for peace, for denuclearization, for understanding. They help embody the decades of peace and mutual aid that Japan and the United States and our people have enjoyed since the end of that terrible war.

I’ll close with a question. For us today, 18 years after the hate-filled attacks of 9/11, where are our Honolulu and Hiroshima? Where does the healing come from? Where do the alliances working in peace and toward peace come from? We are still at war 18 years later. As we the people of Bloomington, Indiana, mark this solemn anniversary, we can ask, how do we do our part, to find and be the peacemakers, the Honolulu, and Hiroshima of our day?  Thank you all for being here on this important occasion.