Vanguard Academy students thank former senator for 9/11 Remembrance speech

“We feel good knowing that you are coming up behind us, building an even stronger America that we need,” former state Sen. Eddie Lucio told Vanguard Academy students.

PHARR, Texas – After former state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., delivered remarks at a 9/11 service at Vanguard Academy in Pharr, two students from Rembrandt Secondary School chased after him.

Andrea Garcia and Violeta Medrano, both sophomores, wanted to thank Lucio for what they said was a moving tribute. They caught up with the Brownsville Democrat just as he was about to get in his suburban and drive away. 

“That was inspiring,” Garcia said. 

“Those were very nice words,” Medrano said. 

Lucio, who made a point of wearing his Twin Towers tie for the occasion, said his remarks came from the heart. He said his best speeches come from his heart.

These were the remarks Lucio delivered:

Today is a Day of Remembrance. Twenty two years ago today an unexpected act of cowardice showed us that, as Americans, we, as the strongest and most powerful nation on earth, were vulnerable. 

That we were not prepared for a national tragedy. When a few terrorists were able to turn America upside down. 

Many lost their lives outright and many more died trying to save lives. These, as God tells us, were the ones that were called to duty, our first responders. They gave their lives so that others could live. It was the ultimate human sacrifice, the ultimate act of selfless love.

So where were we then, as a nation, and where are we today as a society in America? Did we feel we were invincible?

In 2001, the USA was divided by political parties, religious beliefs, cultural differences, economic disparity, the rising cost of prescription drugs, a huge lack of health services. All of these issues added to the division that our enemy was looking for. 

At that time, we were unprepared, security then was not what it is today. 

Our nation has had a dark history because we need to overcome to overcome. How do we overcome our differences? 

Simply by realizing what being an America really stands for – one for all, and all for one. After all, we have declared ourselves as one nation under God and we did it today again, in our pledge of allegiance. 

America is made up of courageous men, women, and yes children who came to this land and made a nation with a Declaration of Independence from oppression of any kind.

Our forefathers were in search of: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and so many other freedoms. But, most important of all was the freedom of religion. 

Today, in the year 2023, we find ourselves surrounded by hate. And, unfortunately, hate crimes are on the rise. We still find ourselves sometimes unwilling to accept someone because he or she is not white, brown, black, or Asian or any other nationality or religion other than our own. 

That makes us vulnerable. 9/11 did bring us together. Yes, it did. Many bonded. Many realized that there are Americans of all religions, cultures and beliefs that came together from all over the nation and the world to help Americans. 

Why? Because many believe in the sanctity of life The right to live. Many of us are and want others to be compassionate, giving and generous to all people in the world. This is God’s wish. And it was ours when we did declare this nation under God. 

How many times have we said, “One Nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to our country’s flag? We said it today and every day. 

Let us prepare by convincing each other no matter where we live in our country, that all of us are brothers and sisters under God and that united we stand, and divided we will surely fall and be defeated. 

Let us become God’s Army of Love – which will lead us to his greatest commandment to us. This will surely be the difference we are all looking for right now. 

For love, as written by the apostle Paul, helps us understand this definition.

Love that suffers long,

Love that is kind,

Love that does not envy,

That is not proud.

Love that does not dishonor,

Love that does that seek for itself,

Love that is not easily angered,

Love that rejoices in truth.

Love that never delights in evil,

Love that protects, trusts and hopes,

Endures all things,

That kind of love. 

My heart still hurts and mourn for the people who perished in the Twin Towers, on airplanes, and in the Pentagon on 9/11. And I know we will never forget them. 

But my hope and prayer is that you, the next generation, will be kinder, more tolerant, better citizens of our country and the world, and love one another as God commanded.

God bless each and every one of you here today. Our families, our communities, our faith and God bless America. Thank you.

Before heading out, Lucio spoke to Garcia and Medrano. He said the world looks to America for leadership.

“We feel good knowing that you are coming up behind us, building an even stronger America that we need,” Lucio told the students.

“Everybody wants to come to America because we do have the greatest country in the world. But we have our faults. We have faults. And we need to work on those faults. We need to make sure that we don’t live in a culture of death. We need to make sure that we light up the world with your smiles, with what is in your hearts. And thank God every day for the blessings that we receive. If you do that, it’s gonna catch on. Your generation will be the generation that saved America from another 9/11.”

Garcia and Medrano asked if they could have a picture taken with the former senator. He agreed. He said if they ever want him to come and speak to their class, he would.

And, as Lucio headed out, driven off by his trusted assistant, Brenda, the two students smiled and walked back to the school playing fields, content that they had conversed, not with any former lawmaker, but one who had delivered a speech that had moved them.

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