Fairfax, Virginia - There are events in a person's life that are forever tied to a location. I remember where I was when X happened. That day for me was when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart just minutes into that January morning flight. That was until September 11th. A morning that changed all our lives.
The ground in our nation's capital shook when the plane hit the Pentagon. Maybe I just think I felt it ... I was only 10 miles away, relatively safe at home, but I felt it. The Flight 93 National Memorial off Route 30 in Pennsylvania always induces emotions of loss. And I can't begin to comprehend the effect the attacks had upon the city of New York.
One thing the world will always remember from that September morning is America's undeniable act of sacrifice. Sacrifice from men and women inside the Pentagon who raced into the rubble to rescue their colleagues, the passengers upon Flight 93 who gave their lives as the plane roared towards Washington, DC, and those in New York City who scaled the twin towers to assist in the evacuation.
Here in the NRA National Firearms Museum, we hold dear a reminder of that sacrifice. The sacrifice of New York City Police Officer Walter Weaver. One of the men and women who thought of others first. Of duty, responsibility and honor. He went into the World Trade Center, into the smoke and fire, into the destruction to simply do his job — protect and serve.
Weeks and months were spent removing the debris. Recovered in the after was a revolver — a .38 Smith & Wesson. Returned to Officer Weaver's family, they ultimately donated that gun along with a collection of mementos to the National Firearms Museum.
To hold that gun, to have it here, is to appreciate just a fraction of the sacrifice offered that day.
For Officer Weaver, for all those who fell, and all those who lost, we pledge to you our memory. That we will never forget all that you gave. It will be with us forever, no matter where we stood that day.