The Post, 9/6

As our nation observes the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, I want to take this opportunity to express my own thoughts on what I view as being most important in our society today.

From day to day, I go about my work as House speaker working on legislation that I know will make a significant impact on the lives of Ohioans. At the same time, not a day has gone by since the 9/11 attacks that I have not thought about that day--whether the focus has been on the violence, the threats against us, or the unity that Americans showed in the aftermath.

I wasn't a part of the General Assembly at the time, but I've been told many stories about what it was like to be in our state capital. Yellow ribbons were found everywhere, while the American and Ohio flags stood on the statehouse at half-mast, and people waved their own flags underneath. Blood donors stood in lines for hours in order to provide for the injured. Meanwhile, tears filled the eyes of those attending a standing-room-only ceremony in the Statehouse Atrium, and many of these same scenes were found within Medina County.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was sitting as the presiding judge on the Ninth District Court of Appeals. Hearings were slated to begin at 9 a.m., shortly after the attacks began, and some suggested that we postpone the docket as the day's tragic events began to unfold. Although the courthouse itself was ultimately closed later that morning, we continued to hear cases in the Medina County Administration Building. As tragic as the events were that day, I thought it was our duty as public servants to continue the work of government as normally as possible.

Since then, we have dealt with a heightened sense of security, constant threats, and wars that have stirred up much controversy. But in a post-9/11 world, we have developed an understanding for these actions. It's an understanding that unites us--one where we stand together in our efforts to ensure our own safety and remain a country that stands for freedom and peace in the world.

Regardless of our differences--no matter if it is our race, religion, political views or values--we are much more alike than we are different. These similarities are what lead to the profound, mutual respect we must have for one another.

I hope that you will use this 10th anniversary of Sept. 11th, 2001, to reflect upon our mutual goals, the freedom you live in, and what makes America the hope of the entire world.


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