“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain–that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom–that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
I am humbled and honored to be in the presence of these family members of heroes who paid the last, full measure of devotion to the United States of America. To the Luceros, Smiths, Zurheides and the Broomheads: We are grateful for your sacrifice and honored by your willingness to come here today and share your heartfelt and emotional response to this memorial.
Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg still inspire us nearly a century and a half later because they speak to the enduring principles of the United States of America – one nation, under God, freedom, government of the people.
Today we stand at a memorial that mocks these foundational principles. A memorial put in place supposedly to remember the losses of 9-11 – an evil attack on our nation that killed thousands of innocent Americans – instead reminds us of American failings and American mistakes, real and imagined, before and after 9-11.
This memorial is a tribute to moral relativism – it celebrates the inability to make moral distinctions between an ideology of hatred, bent on world domination and committed to killing innocent civilians, as compared to an ideology of freedom and hope, committed to government of the people, by the people and for the people. Imperfect, yes … yet always striving to be better.
This monument is the equivalent of a Pearl Harbor memorial that focused primarily on Japanese internment camps. It is not just a question of historical accuracy; it is also a question of judgment, critical thinking and the ability to make moral distinctions.
There is a reason that a firestorm has developed around this memorial – why so many of you have come here on a work day with less than a day’s notice. It is because most Americans, and most Arizonans, are still able to make those moral distinctions.
I got an email this morning. It says, “Len, I’m a former New Yorker, now living in Glendale. On 9-11 my brother, a New York City fireman was killed. My life long buddy, who worked on the 104th floor, was killed also. Being a family member of someone who was killed on 9-11, I was invited to attend the ceremony in Phoenix on 9-11. The ceremony was very beautiful. The memorial inscriptions made my stomach turn.”
… “To me political correctness was part of the reason 9-11 happened … and now it’s added to a 9-11 memorial? Why? The memorial has become someone’s political agenda. Whose I do not know. I’m not happy … it makes my stomach turn.”
I think this reaction is typical of many family members of those who were lost on 9-11.
The fact that Janet Napolitano is on record saying she commissioned this memorial, that she said just last Friday that it is a “great” memorial, that she was quoted in the newspaper applauding the memorial for “reaffirming the history” of 9-11, that she calls it “unique, bold, dynamic and educational” – all of this is evidence of a Governor so far into the ideology of “blame America first” that she did not even notice how politicized this memorial is.
This Governor does not get it. She does not understand the nature of our opponent or the gravity of the war we are in. Her support for this memorial, along with her failure to secure the borders of our state five years after 9-11, is evidence that she cannot be trusted to take seriously the threats to the security of the people of our state and of our nation.
As I have said from the beginning of this campaign, the Governor is far out of the mainstream in Arizona, and this is just one more example.
The artists behind this exhibit have made it very clear where they were coming from, by saying in an interview that they wanted to remind future generations that following 9-11 we were misled into war.
That explains a lot about the worldview behind this memorial. It explains why the President of the United States is not named in the memorial, but is noted only for addressing the nation. Right below the reference to the president is an inscription that a terrorist leader also addressed the people of the United States. The president of the U.S. and a terrorist leader, both unnamed, both speak to the people of the United States.
Only in the relativistic context of left-wing protesters holding “Bush is a terrorist” signs do such inscriptions make sense.
It explains why, despite the outpouring of public prayer and the bipartisan singing of “God Bless America” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, there is not a single mention of God in this memorial.
It explains why there are inscriptions raising conspiracy theory-like questions about whether the U.S. knew about these attacks and didn’t prevent them.
We are in a political season and I am running for a political office. But I have a long record of standing up for core American values, and for our military.
Ten years ago the Phoenix Art Museum brought to Arizona an exhibit dedicated to the desecration of the American flag. With dozens of veterans protesting outside the exhibit, I was the lone conservative who entered into a debate inside the Phoenix Art Museum to challenge their decision to depict the American flag in a toilet, on fire, and on the floor to be trampled upon. I am not new to the battle over these ideas.
I will say today what I said then – in America we have many freedoms, freedoms not available to those who live in many other countries. Here the question is not “can we” but “should we”?
Should we denigrate the sacrifices of those who were killed in a cowardly attack, and those who fought the war on terror, by using a memorial like this to attack the American military and raise questions about American culpability in 9-11?
The answer to me is clear. We should not.
Yes, there are elements of the memorial that are fine, that should be kept. But as a whole, this monument is an insult to patriotic Americans.
So today I challenge Janet Napolitano – if you care about veterans, if you care about the families who suffered loss on 9-11, and the families here today who suffered loss as a direct result of their noble response to 9-11 – if you care about America’s standing in the world — tear down this monument!
(LOUD SUSTAINED APPLAUSE)
And if you won’t do it, I will. As Governor, I will raise the money to put up a real monument to the victims of 9-11, a monument that will include different phrases and inscriptions:
The new monument will include at least these three phrases from 9-11 that are missing here:
Phrase No. 1 — “Let’s Roll” (APPLAUSE)
Phrase No. 2 — “United We Stand” and (APPLAUSE)
Phrase No. 3 — “God Bless America” (APPLAUSE)
Thank you for being here today and God bless you, may God bless Arizona, and may God bless America.