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Many current Congressional staffers were barely teenagers when they witnessed the fall of the World Trade Center towers 10 years ago. Today, while they serve as aides to the nation's lawmakers, the memory is no less emotional.
"Although the attacks were a devastating tragedy unlike anything our generation had ever experienced, shortly after there was an outpouring of compassion, humanity and kindness," said Rachael Estes, a member of the Congressional Women's Staff Association.
In honor of those who died and the people who risked their lives as first responders in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Estes and about 50 Congressional staff members held a candlelight vigil outside the Capitol on Friday evening.
"It was just such an important day for the nation overall," said Elizabeth Murphy, also a member of the Congressional Women's Staff Association, who, along with Estes, helped organize the vigil. "As public servants, we think it's important that we recognize and remember it."
The vigil was hosted by 10 Congressional staff associations, including the Congressional Black Associates, the Congressional Jewish Staff Association, the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Congressional Staff Association.
Estes and Murphy handed out candles and made opening remarks about the impact of the attacks on the lives of Americans.
"If there is any good that can come out of this tragedy," Murphy said, "it is moments like this where people from all walks of life and opposite ends of the spectrum can come together in solidarity for their country."
Attendees later observed a moment of silence to commemorate those who lost their lives in the attack.
"It's important for all Americans to remember what happened on Sept. 11," said Cheri Hoffman, a staffer who attended the vigil. "But particularly for us here, because we're involved in the rancor and the debate and the divisiveness every day, I think it's really important to remember that there are bigger issues at stake."