Army War College community remembers sacrifice, courage of 9/11
September 12, 2013
Pa. Rep. Stephen Bloom joined his neighbors, the men and women of the Army War College and Carlisle Barracks, to characterize the somber ceremony for an unwanted anniversary as a time to honor and remember those good and brave men and women who stood first to heroically confront the evil of that day with their very lives.
"Many other heroes followed in their courageous footsteps in the weeks and months and seasons that lead us here, 12 years on, to a day upon which the memories of September 11, 2001, still burn in our hearts and minds, only sharpened and magnified in the blaze of their willing sacrifices," he said.
Bloom recalled his personal experience on that September day when he arrived at his children's school and locked eyes with a fellow parent: mother of his daughters' friend, and wife of a colonel at the War College.
"In her eyes, I saw not worry, but an intense understanding that duty was calling her family and nothing would be the same," he said. "In her eyes, I saw not fear, but determined courage in the face of looming danger. In her eyes, I saw not rage, but measured resolve that justice would be done. In her eyes, I saw not arrogance, but assured confidence.
"And, in her eyes, I saw not naiveté, but full comprehension of the inevitable sacrifices to come."
"Now, more than a decade later, my duties as a state representative these last few years have helped me see a little deeper behind the eyes of that colonel's wife -- the realities she knew then. While her husband was spared, too many would not be.
"I've looked into the eyes of moms whose sons didn't make it home alive, the ones who gave all because of September 11, 2001, like the heroes we're honoring today. And I'm a little closer to understanding what you who serve already know too well."
These words by Pennsylvania Rep. Stephen Bloom echoed across Carlisle Barracks as The War College Community reserved moments today to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and honor the sacrifice and courage of those killed that day and acknowledge the profound effects it had on all of those gathered.
The ceremony's roll call commemorated the 9/11-related deaths of graduates. War College Command Sgt. Maj. Malcolm Parrish called these names -- Lieutenant General Timothy J. Maude … Colonel Canfield D. Boone … Colonel Richard C. Rescorla … Sri Lanka's Lieutenant General Parami Kulatunga -- and met with silence, until First Sgt. Sabrina Washington responded across the gathering: "They are no longer with us."
A member of the class of 1990, Maude was serving as the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel when killed in the Pentagon attack as was 2002 graduate Boone who served on the same staff, working as the Army Guard's personnel policy integrator. Rescorla was a Vietnam veteran and member of the class of 1988; he died trying to save lives in the World Trade Center that day. Kulatunga died at the hands of terrorists in years to follow.
"We can all name names, even close our eyes and see the faces of the fallen we know," said Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, War College Commandant. "In remembering these fallen, we should find honor, energy and motivation to deal with the complexities we face today."
Cucolo spoke directly to his students, senior military and international officers and civilians whose lives and careers were irrevocably changed on that day. "One thing has not changed since our youth: we take great pride in our role and find incredible energy in knowing what we do has a direct impact on the survival of our nation and the protection of her citizens."
One of those students, Melinda Busansky, a Marine Corps Civilian, worked in Pentagon offices destroyed on Sept. 11. She was intimately involved in immediate-response events after the attack, including supporting first responders working recovery. She later served on the team charged to rebuild the damaged spaces.
"It was a daunting task," she said in a later interview, about the goal to have the repairs complete and everyone back in the Pentagon by the one-year anniversary of the attacks. She met with architects and construction managers, technology experts and more to make sure they met the deadline. "My office, part of the Chief of Naval Operations, was the final office to move back in, two nights before the anniversary," she said.
There's a crystal ship that graced her shelves before the Pentagon attack, and apparently disappeared into the rubble. Years later, though, the ship is chipped but proudly displayed in her office -- a physical reminder that the Pentagon and the nation may have been bruised but have been restored.
"This event changed our environment and triggered the operations that many of us have been intimately involved in over the past twelve years," she said, noting her gratitude for her colleagues' service. "As we end these operations, we must not forget the events of that day, the friends and family we lost then or during the years that followed."