The President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), Gerald E. Connolly (United States), issued the following statement on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001:
“Twenty years after the horrific terrorist attacks in the United States, we remember and honour the memory of the nearly 3,000 men, women and children who were killed on 11 September 2001. We also continue to stand by those who lost their loved ones that day and the heroes who, through incredible acts of sacrifice, saved countless lives. The shock, sorrow and loss of that tragic morning will never be forgotten.
Since 2001, terrorists have continued to perpetrate heinous attacks. They have claimed thousands of innocent lives, caused lasting trauma and opened wounds that are difficult to heal. Today, we remember all victims of terrorist atrocities around the world. We also reaffirm our responsibility in fighting the scourge of terrorism and bringing perpetrators to justice.
As Allies, we will never forget, remain forever vigilant and stand united against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The attacks on 11 September 2001 marked a turning point in the history of NATO. The Allied reaction demonstrated the unmatched strength and resilience of our Alliance and of the transatlantic bond. Just one day after the attacks, on 12 September, NATO countries voiced their solidarity with the American people in the face of international terrorism and in defence of the shared democratic values undergirding the Alliance. For the first time in NATO’s history, the Allies invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, the Alliance’s collective defence mechanism. In the two decades since, all Allies and their partners have been courageously and tirelessly confronting terrorism together, sometimes at great sacrifice.
Today, terrorists continue to pose a threat to global stability and to the security of our nations. As NATO engages in a reflection on its future to ensure it can face the challenges of today and tomorrow, we must remember that transatlantic solidarity and our commitment to our shared democratic values – both so powerfully expressed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks – remain the foundations of our Alliance and our security. They also are our best response to those who seek to undermine our way of life through hatred and violence. And they are the reasons why terrorists will never succeed.”