Remarks by Secretary Janet Napolitano at the Clinton School of Public Service
This blog post was written by Amanda Yamaguchi, an intern at Be the Change, Inc.
Secretary Napolitano spoke about the crucial role of service in improving our nation. She mentions in her speech that, “The terrorist attacks on 9/11 were, of course, the reason that Department of Homeland Security was founded. We were stood up as part of the national security framework created to counter new threats....” In order to successfully move forward as a nation, it is important that we reignite the outpouring compassion that was present following the tragic events of 9/11.
After 9/11, individuals rose in service, not only in the United States, but across borders. For example, Secretary Napolitano notes that the French magazine, Le Monde, headline read, “We are all Americans,” while Buckingham palace played the Star Spangled Banner. Most importantly, however, Democrats and Republicans put aside differences and rose in service together to unite our nation in a moment of tragedy. The necessity of service as a nation is unparalleled. Service is a vital component to the success of a nation. Secretary Napolitano stated that the purpose of her speech was to “help re-ignite some of that national unity of purpose....” by stressing the importance of service.
With the upcoming 10 year anniversary of September 11, the strength of America’s security has risen substantially. This increase in security and the ability for Americans to revitalize and rebuild the nation after one of the worst attacks on American soil could not have been successfully completed without everyone’s commitment and dedication to service.
Unfortunately, the vigor that once surrounding the topic of service has wavered since the original attacks. While this is a typical response over an extended period of time, we need to redefine the focus on the role for service. While discussions and recognition of service has wavered, Americans show their desire and capacity to serve. Secretary Napolitano recognized Sidney Melton, A Public Assistance Infrastructure Director in the Florida Recovery office at Fema, and Army veteran’s dedication to service. After and EF-5 tornado destroyed the majority of the Hackleburg, Alabama, Melton assisted recovery efforts in the community for two months following. Sidney Melton is one of about 50,000 veterans who works at the Department of Homeland Security and continues to dedicate his time and efforts to service.
These continued acts of service have not gone unnoticed. President Obama made a concerted effort to recognize and re-establish the importance of service surrounding 9/11. His actions spoke volumes by proclaiming September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Secretary Napolitano quoted President Obama when he said, “9/11 is an opportunity to salute the heroes of 9/11, recapture the spirit of unity and compassion that inspired our Nation following the attacks, and rededicate ourselves to sustained service to our communities."
In summation, September 11th provides individuals with the opportunity to re-engage in service. As a nation it is vital that we recognize that we have a commitment to one another. By engaging in acts of service we are further solidifying our loyalty to each other and to our great nation.
“To this end, we need Americans to serve. We need Americans to engage.”