Posted 9/12/2001 09:06 am
Updated 2 years ago
"Good evening from the state Capitol.
"Like all Americans, we in Arkansas are in a state of shock following the unthinkable terrorist attacks on our nation. When the ugly scenes started unfolding in New York and Washington today, I was in Kentucky with my fellow Southern governors at the annual meeting of the Southern Governors' Association. All of us began immediately to leave for home so we could be with our people. The borders of Arkansas never looked better. After today's horrors, being home takes on more meaning than ever.
"I appreciate all the people on our emergency management team who responded appropriately, promptly and professionally to put into place a state response and readiness plan. I also want to thank Lt. Gov. Rockefeller for issuing a proclamation that state flags be flown at half-staff for the remainder of the week in respect and sympathy for the untold numbers of victims.
"Every effort has been and continues to be made to ensure the safety of our citizens. What we clearly understand after today is that the best human efforts cannot provide perfect and complete security. We're reminded our only real security is when we're in the hands of a loving God. People of all faiths have been moved to prayer by today's events. I urge Arkansans to join me in asking for God's grace and strength during these coming days of grief and recovery.
"Here in Arkansas, we're blessed to be surrounded by the greatest people on earth. We've been through many disasters. Our people have experienced tremendous challenges. While today's events didn't occur in Arkansas, they happened to our fellow Americans, and at such a time we're more than ever one nation under God and indivisible.
"Evil, reprehensible actions such as this are rightly called acts of terrorism. The goal of such cowardly acts is to bring terror and a sense of vulnerability to innocent, unsuspecting citizens. Terrorism not only kills and maims its immediate victims, it also seeks to make all of us victims of fear. The terrorist wins when he causes us to change the way we live. When his demonic acts of hate and violence cause us to hate others and be afraid to enjoy our liberty, the terrorist succeeds in his true goal of robbing us of our peace and raping our souls. We all want these creatures to be found and brought to justice. We join in support of our president, who addressed the nation earlier this evening and made clear our country will find and bring to justice those who were responsible for these acts. What we must not do is allow the terrorists to forever steal our way of life.
"Our hearts go out to the victims and their families along with the firemen, policemen, medical personnel and other emergency workers who gave their lives trying to save others. It's true we'll never be the same after today. But it has never been more important for us to remain the kind of Americans who love life and live free. As the towers of the World Trade Center fell today, more than brick and mortar could have collapsed. The sense of security we enjoy within our borders will have collapsed if we react with rage and fear.
"I encourage the people of Arkansas to focus our grief toward the things that will help, starting with prayer. I call upon our state's merchants to resist any temptation to unnecessarily raise prices on essentials, especially gasoline. There have been some reports of price gouging on gasoline. I can assure you there's an ample supply. There's no excuse for artificially raising prices to take advantage of people who have enough anxiety as it is. There's simply no need to rush to the bank or the grocery store. Our banking system is operating normally in Arkansas, and our stores will only run out of food if people panic and act foolishly and selfishly by buying more than is needed. There aren't going to be shortages of food or water.
"I want you to know what steps are being taken to ensure our safety here in Arkansas.
"The Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas National Guard and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management are all operating on a state of high alert and will continue to do so until further notice. Extra security is being used as a precaution at strategic locations. State government and local governments will function normally. While we'll all be more alert and focused on issues of public safety, there's no reason for us to shut down government or commerce.
"I want offer to Gov. Pataki of New York and Mayor Giuliani of New York City any assistance we can provide in the rescue and recovery efforts. Here at home, we'll diligently monitor any attempts to engage in price gouging and urge the attorney general to take all steps necessary to prosecute those who would take advantage of their fellow Arkansans.
"I won't pretend we'll wake up tomorrow and it will be business as usual. It shouldn't be. Life probably will never be the same for any of us. We'll never forget this day. We'll not enjoy complete peace until those responsible pay the price for their actions. We'll especially grieve for those in our Arkansas family who we'll discover were victims of today's tragedy. But let's ask God for the grace to rest tonight and to rise tomorrow with a new resolve to turn this tragedy toward a more united nation and a people unapologetically dependent on divine providence and committed to freedom and democracy.
"Good night and God bless America."