Today the entire country will pause to remember the people we lost one year ago in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. Reflecting on the events of the past year leads me to marvel at the resilience of our American culture and the strength of our national resolve. We have not only persevered during this trying time, we have progressed. And in doing so, we have drawn inspiration from each other and the remarkable things we see fellow Americans achieving, while overcoming great obstacles, every day. I am proud of the dedicated work being conducted by the men and women of NASA.

Thoughts from NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe:

Throughout America today, many of our fellow citizens are taking part in events like this as we commemorate one of the saddest days in our nation’s history. It is our blessing and curse as human beings that we have the profound capacity to remember. As we grow older, it is true that all the days of our lives tend to blur together in our minds. Some days, however, are so seared in our memory, so much so, that we can instantly recall their sights, sounds and emotions many years later.

We have such memories of the very good days, like that beautiful summer day in July 1969 when two American astronauts first walked on the Moon in a triumph for the human spirit and for this great agency. And, regrettably, we have such memories, painful as they may be, of that September day one year ago, when our worst fears rather than our greatest dreams were realized. And those memories will unfortunately stay with us forever.All of us have a story to tell about what we saw, and what we felt one year ago as we watched the events unfold on television, or for those of us here in Washington and in New York, as we became eyewitnesses to the Pearl Harbor of our time. And unfortunately, many of us were pained to the core when we later learned that among those lost that September morning were people we knew as treasured friends, relatives, and colleagues. No period of time can totally eliminate the heartbreak of this loss. But we can honor the memories of those we lost by moving on from our anguish and by embodying the tremendous courage and resolve that was displayed by the heroic passengers on Flight 93 in the skies above Pennsylvania.

Of course, as we look forward, the nation is counting on NASA to develop technologies that are vital to public safety and to our mission goal of understanding and protecting our home planet. I’m proud that NASA scientists are hard at work, striving to develop technologies to help prevent civilian aircraft from being used as guided weapons, and to develop aircraft that are strong enough to withstand explosion damage and land safely. It is our heartfelt dream that the events that happened on September 11th cannot and will not ever happen again. And I’m confident that the men and women of NASA can play an important role in making sure that this dream turns into reality.

  • NASA contributions to the recovery effort.