To The Daily Sun,
On Sept. 11, 2001, I was in the U.S. Capitol building for a hearing on early childhood education where Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton were to speak. While waiting in the corridor, an announcement was made that the hearing was canceled given the terrorist attacks. Having no knowledge of any attack, a few of us went to Senator Gregg's office to see the television reports in his waiting room. After a few minutes of watching the devastation on TV and realizing the severity of the attack, the corridors became filled with people running and shouting for everyone to leave the building. The attack on the Pentagon was in process and no one knew what was next.
I led my colleagues down the basement door, hoping to avoid the confusion at the front entrance. Hillary Clinton was standing outside that door, directing people away from the building and potential danger. There were security personnel who could have whisked her away. There were still cars and taxis moving in the area, despite the sirens and the smoke drifting in from the Pentagon. But she stayed, when she could have been comfortably escaping the unknown in the back of a limo.
To me those few minutes were an important statement, they were a measure of Hillary Clinton's character and her concern for people, many of whom she didn't know and would never see again.
It reinforced an earlier impression a decade before, when Hillary was working with the Children's Defense Fund. She flew to New Hampshire to help us with an initiative to bring children home to New Hampshire who had been sent to out-of-state institutions. Her passion for the well-being of children was clear. We connected again as I watched her battle for health care. When it failed in the 11th hour, she helped to turn defeat into nearly universal coverage for children — a program that thousands of children in New Hampshire have benefited from, the Healthy Kids program.
I have seen her in policy and personal settings. She can be as tender with those in need as she can be tough with dictators, foreign or domestic. She inspires confidence, and her long history of service is a statement in and of itself.
Hillary Clinton is the leader we need on the world stage to keep us safe and at home to help build healthy, prosperous communities. Her late mom summed it up on a bus ride during the last election cycle. She told me, "She was just born knowing the right thing to do."
- Category: Letters
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