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'The Brutal Sound Of Silence': Former Gov. Tom Ridge Recalls 9/11 And The Heartbreak Of No Survivors On Flight 93

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who is America's first Homeland Security secretary, said he will never forget 9/11.

The 76-year-old Munhall native, who is recovering from a stroke, on Thursday issued a video, recalling Sept. 11, 2001.

Ridge was Pennsylvania's governor at the time, and shortly after the attack, he helicoptered to Shanksville, the area near the site of Flight 93's heroic act.

"No amount of time can ever fade my memories of that day," Ridge said in his taped statement. "What I remember most about 9/11 is stepping off the helicopter at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and being met by the brutal sound of silence. Emergency personnel searched the fields. Ambulances were at the ready. Rescue workers wanted someone to save. But, you see, the passengers and crew of Flight 93 were 40 heroes strong. They were, in fact, the first, first responders on the scene. They had already run toward the danger. They had already taken up the battle, and they were already in the arms of God."

Ridge, who also served as honorary co-chair of the fundraising effort for the flight 93 Memorial, said despite the divisions in the country in recent years, our shared values and shared responsibility to one another and the country are still the hallmarks of the American story.

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