For Georgia politicians, Sept. 11 is a day to remember a national tragedy and a day that spurred a new movement for public safety in the United States.
While remembering the victims of the attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, and U.S. Rep. John Linder, R-Duluth, are looking to the future, to the steps taken to ensure the attacks would never happen again.
"Four years ago, the tragic events of Sept. 11 fundamentally altered the U.S. and its people. In addition to sadness and shock, the events brought a realization that there were individuals who despised open societies and freedom so much that they would take extreme measures, including the death of thousands of innocents, in their efforts to force others to conform to their way of thinking and life. Through their actions, terrorists declared war on the U.S., and all freedom-loving people in the world," Linder said.
"What these terrorists did not take into account is that the U.S. and its allies are resilient, and that time and time again throughout history, whether it being fighting the Axis powers in World War II or Communism, belief in freedom was stronger than any fear. Our determination and passion to defend democracy now is as strong. The terrorists will not succeed."
Chambliss, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, pointed to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center as examples of the successes stemming from the tragedy.
"Four years later, as we continue to fight and win the war on terrorism, we are hunting down the terrorists one by one, and we are going to make sure that at the end of the day our children and our grandchildren are able to enjoy the same safe and secure America that we have all enjoyed," Chambliss said.
"There is no question that we are safer today than we were prior to Sept. 11. Our law enforcement community is better equipped; they are better trained, and they are getting better intelligence than ever before."
Linder said, though, that the work isn't over yet.
"I ask everyone to pause and think of those who were lost on Sept. 11. I know that they will never be forgotten. I also ask that everyone pause and say a prayer for the men and women who are currently fighting the war on terror, and who have dedicated their lives to keeping our nation safe - both at home and abroad. These brave men and women, who many of us have the privilege to call our friends, family members and neighbors, are bringing the fight to the terrorists in an effort to confront emerging threats. The work is challenging and difficult, and I thank them and support them.
"Finally, this anniversary comes at a time when our nation is once again seeking to rebuild itself. I know that the country and the people of the Gulf Coast will rebound from Hurricane Katrina, and I ask all Americans to do what they can to help those affected by this calamity."
Sheldon to lead tax study
A House study committee will hold two days of hearings this week on whether the General Assembly should enact a "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" for Georgia.
Twenty-three states have passed some form of legislation that restricts the growth of their budgets.
Generally, they limit annual increases in state spending to the state's population growth and the rate of inflation. Any revenue collected beyond that amount is refunded to taxpayers.
Colorado, which enacted a taxpayer bill of rights in 1992, has been the chief model, said Rep. Donna Sheldon, R-Dacula, who sponsored the resolution creating the study committee and will serve as its chairwoman.
"In five years, they refunded $3,000 per family," she said.
The first day of the hearing on Tuesday will feature testimony from Jon Caldara, a conservative columnist and talk show host in Colorado and president of the Golden, Colo.-based Independence Institute.
Wednesday's witness list will include former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, now a professor at Texas A&M University.
Staff Writer Dave Williams contributed to this report.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post. Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.