Seventh District U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre called on UNC Pembroke students Thursday to pull together behind America's recovery from the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The Lumberton native, who sits on the Armed Forces Committee and a panel on terrorism, spoke to Prof. Ray Adame's political science class and answered student questions afterward.
"This cowardly act struck at each of us, but they have not broken our foundation as a nation," U.S. Rep. McIntyre said. "Many of us would like to return to the comfort of normalcy, but now is the time to act in the name of freedom and justice."
He said Congress is unified behind the President and worked "immediately to move ahead to rebuild a world that is as President Truman said is 'safe for democracy.'"
"This is the first time since the War of 1812 that we have been attacked on American soil," Rep. McIntyre said. "What can you do to help?"
"You can be in prayer for the victims, their families, for the police and rescue workers and for the government which must make tough decisions about the future," he said."
The congressman urged students to give blood and to help local relief agencies.
"Find a way to strengthen the character of America," Rep. McIntyre said. "Find a way to reach out and help someone in need."
"The next time you see a fireman, policeman, rescue worker or soldier - thank them!"
Congressman McIntyre assured listeners that Congress is working quickly to shore up the economy and to provide the means to protect Americans. He said the $40 billion approved so far for short-term economic relief and national security is just "a down payment on what needs to be done."
In answer to a question about the war against terrorism placing American's civil liberties in jeopardy, the congressman urged fair treatment of Muslims in America.
"We must treat all American citizens fairly, regardless of skin color," he said. "However, when there is no national security, the argument over civil liberties becomes meaningless."
Rep. McIntyre said Congress would give the FBI and CIA additional powers to keep surveillance on individuals and groups of suspected terrorists.
The congressman said he viewed damage at the Pentagon this week and will travel to New York Monday with a Congressional delegation. Following the noon speech, he attended a seminar at UNCP on electronic commerce in the afternoon.