WASHINGTON — With the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks approaching, lawmakers say that day is something to never forget.
“Don’t allow them to become a relic of the past,” Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) said.
Katko worries the country may forget the lessons learned from the attack on 9/11.
“We risk letting our guard down and making some of the same mistakes that led to the intelligence and information failures of Sept. 11,” Katko said.
The House Homeland Security Committee was formed in the wake of the attack, and Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) says its members should never forget their responsibilities.
“And making sure that we are never attacked again in this vicious and cowardly way,” Demings said.
Following the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Katko worries the country could still be the source of future conflict.
“I do have a concern that China and/or Russia will use that opening in Afghanistan to encourage and perhaps clandestinely fund terrorist activity against us, back here in the homeland,” Katko said.
Experts say the 9/11 attacks made an immediate impact on the country and its culture.
“It brought Americans together in a truly special way and I think many of us can remember the sense of solidarity we felt with our fellow citizens, the willingness to sacrifice,” Former 9/11 Commission Staff Member Daniel Byman said.
But Byman says that’s no longer the case.
“What terrorism has done in recent years is really divide Americans even further,” Byman said.
Katko says it’s important to work together as a country, to prevent a major disaster from happening again.