On this day, 19 years ago, thousands of Americans lost their lives in an act of unimaginable violence. Today, we honor the loss of these Americans and remember the family and friends who still mourn their deaths.

After almost two decades, many of our elected representatives are still scared of anyone who looks different, and they encourage their constituents to be afraid of immigrants, Muslims, and people of color. We had reason to fear during the months and years after the attacks, but now is the time for us to care for our neighbors and cultivate our communities.

In order for us to thrive, we must move past our fears and embrace hope, love, and service. We must imagine a government that cares for its citizens while protecting our rights rather than one that simply penalizes and punishes. We must look to leaders who honor and understand sacrifice and reflect these values in their daily lives.

To those who lost loved ones in the attack, we mourn with you. To those who went to war, we thank you for your service. And to those who have been marginalized and experienced discrimination, we vow to work with you and embrace you.