Stand Beside Us and Guide Us
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
September 9, 2

As will be the case around the country, the focus in Washington over the next several days will be the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001. We will concentrate our thoughts on the horror and suffering of that day, we will mourn our lost and honor our heroes, and we will reflect on how we as individuals and as a nation have developed since then.

Without doubt, the events and emotions of September 11th are seared into our national memory. Many of us do not find it difficult to remember where we were that day. I, for one, will never forget evacuating Capitol Hill early that morning as it became clear that the tragedies in New York City and the Pentagon were no accident. I can acutely recall the confusion and the fear. Shock, sorrow, anxiety, and anger were heavy in the air. Yet, in the midst of it all, hope surfaced. One striking example came that afternoon when Members of Congress stood on the Capitol steps and united in singing “God Bless America.” 

The song “God Bless America” was originally written by renowned composer Irving Berlin in the last year of World War I. However, it was on the precipice of World War II that these words became nationally known and embraced:

God bless America, land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
to the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home.

Hearing our elected leaders again call on God to guide our nation through the night with His light was a great encouragement and comfort for us after such a fearful day. Indeed, “God Bless America” was then sung at the re-opening of the New York Stock Exchange, at Major League Baseball stadiums, and during other events across the country. We were reminded, as then-President George W. Bush noted the evening of that September 11th, that we could rest in the arms of “a power greater than any of us spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me’.”

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York City in 2001, noted: “Hundreds and thousands of families turned to God more than they had in the past…. Whether people agree or disagree with religion, it did play a major role in the healing of the city.” Ten years later that message of guidance and healing through Christ is still with us, just as it has been for centuries. As we remember September 11th, may we continue to request God’s blessing and light for our land.

Washington Whispers
On the Docket
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations


This week, Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, announced his autumn agenda for that panel. Specifically, his office noted that the committee will be “working on legislative solutions to protect families and jobs from the economically devastating regulations imposed, proposed, and contemplated by the Obama Administration.”

For the Communications Subcommittee, headed by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman Upton has his eyes on the process and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Already this summer, he and Rep. Walden successfully urged the FCC to remove the Fairness Doctrine from its books, and he desires more streamlining. Of note, both leaders have, throughout the last year, voiced concern about last December’s partisan net neutrality decision by the FCC.

Chairman Upton has also declared that “broadband and wireless spectrum policy are vital jobs issues,” and he intends for spectrum legislation to be at the forefront of the Communications Subcommittee’s work. Subcommittee Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA) have each floated draft bills that would authorize federal revenue-raising voluntary auctions of television broadcast spectrum and a repacking of television broadcasters to make room for more wireless broadband use. They will continue to negotiate their bills, including possible protections for broadcasters. Significantly, Chairman Upton is also one of 12 members on the newly formed Joint Deficit Reduction Committee tasked with finding bipartisan agreement on $1.5 trillion in federal deficit-reducing dollars by Thanksgiving.

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