HUDSON: We will always remember

September 11th, 2001 was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. The images of 9/11 remain ingrained into the collective memory of Americans across our nation. I still remember watching TV when the second airplane crashed into the World Trade Center that morning.

What we witnessed in the hours and days that followed were some of the most courageous and heroic acts of good. We saw hundreds of first responders rush into the smoke and flames of those burning buildings, passing civilians fleeing. We heard about the courageous passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 who sacrificed their lives in order to save others. These individuals were, and continue to be, heroes in every sense of the word. May we never forget them and all who have served our nation since.

It is our responsibility as Americans to never forget the tragedy and heroism of 9/11. We continue to honor and support all those most affected by what took place that day—including the thousands of brave men and women who answered the call to wear our nation’s uniform and defend our freedoms for the past 20 years in order to prevent events like 9/11 from happening again.

As the representative of the largest Army base in the world, it is among my top priorities to make sure our community’s veterans, troops, and their families get the support they deserve. That’s why I was proud to introduce the Healthcare Equality and Rights for our Heroes Act earlier this year to continue my fight to ensure our nation’s service members who are victims of malpractice from a DoD medical treatment facility can receive the compensation they deserve.

Moore County resident Master Sergeant Rich Stayskal is one of those heroes who first enlisted in the Armed Forces in 2001. He was deployed to Iraq soon after and served our nation honorably. However, while stationed in our region, he received a missed cancer diagnosis that changed his life. In response, I helped change federal law in 2020 so he and other military families could receive support when facing non-combat medical malpractice while on active-duty.

The law that gave hope to Rich Stayskal and hundreds of military families has been outright ignored by the Department of Defense. Servicemembers like Rich kept their promise to us, they served honorably, and they deserve the best we have to offer them. That’s not what they’re getting. I will not stop until we make this right—not only for Rich and his family, but for every military family and veteran.

President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.”

With that in mind, it is one of my greatest honors to nominate high school students for service academies each year who will go on to join the next generation of brave men and women in uniform. In my time as your Congressman, I am continually awed by the quality of young people who seek these appointments. They are the best among us. The decision to apply to a service academy is a courageous and selfless one, and I am humbled to be a part of the process.

This year’s deadline to submit a nomination packet to the Southern Pines District Office is Wednesday, October 11, 2023 by 5:00 PM. If your son or daughter is interested in attending a service academy and receiving a nomination, they need to start during their Junior Year of High School. For more information, call my Southern Pines District Office at 910-910-1924 or visit our website at to learn more about the nomination process.

I am deeply grateful to be an American, and incredibly appreciative of those who risk their lives daily to defend our liberties. As your Congressman, I will continue to fight for the important issues facing you and your families and I will always work to support those who have sacrificed so much for this nation.

Richard Hudson is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House and represents North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. He currently serves as the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee and is a member of the House Republican Steering Committee.

By U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson