FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. (September 14, 2009) - Hundreds of Soldiers and civilian employees from U.S. Army Forces Command and other organizations here gathered Friday to honor the fallen and wounded from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, and to recognize Patriot Day and National Day of Service 2009.
Gen. Charles C. Campbell, the FORSCOM commander, spoke to the crowd about the importance of remembering Sept. 11 while continuing the fight to defend freedom. "On that fateful morning, a small group of terrorists killed 3,000 innocent Americans," he said. "We grieve as a Nation and as a people, for that day of infamy ... a day etched in our memories."
Campbell praised the generation of Americans who now defend the Nation, continuing to fight for the freedoms enjoyed here and to fight for the freedom of other nations. "The enemy counted on us losing our resolve and tiring," Campbell said. "The enemy was wrong."
Campbell commended America's Armed Forces for their honor, commitment, courage and selflessness. He added the defense of freedom is worth the sacrifice, although it is not -- nor ever will be -- easy.
"Let us remain proud of our Army," Campbell said . "We will never forget. We will never tire. We will never falter. We will never quit."
Fort McPherson's Patriot Day ceremony in front of U.S. Army Forces Command Headquarters started with the National Anthem, sung by Edward Hudson of the Fort McPherson Fire Department. Col. Michael Tarvin, Forces Command chaplain, gave the invocation and Fort McPherson Garrison commander Col. Deborah Grays, welcomed the crowd and described her personal memories of hearing the news on Sept. 11, 2001.
While at a ceremony welcoming a new staff member, Grays recalled hearing the news that an airplane hit the first tower of the World Trade Center.
"Uneasiness filtered through the crowd, but we thought it was an accident," Grays said.
Deciding to continue with the ceremony, Grays was kept updated with information and when informed that the second tower was hit and another airplane hit the Pentagon, it was clear it was no accident.
Grays said Friday's Patriot Day ceremony was a "phenomenal celebration of remembrance." "We remember the sacrifices (that were made)," she said. "We remember the price paid for freedom. We remember the patriotism that enveloped the Nation."
After an inspirational reading by Fort McPherson Command Sgt. Maj. Kenny Leon Guerrero, the Army Ground Forces Band performed "That Ragged Old Flag," narrated by Master Sgt. Lowry Dorris.
Pvt. 1st Class Nicole Pena, a chaplain's assistant, rang a ceremonial bell three times to recognize attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Penn., followed by a moment of silence. Closing the ceremony, a bugler played "Taps" in tribute to those killed and wounded in the attacks.
The White House issue a proclamation Sept. 10 remembering and recognizing the anniversary. "Through the twisted steel of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the scarred walls of the Pentagon, and the smoky wreckage in a field in southwest Pennsylvania, the patriotism and resiliency of the American people shone brightly on September 11, 2001," President Barack Obama proclaimed. "We stood as one people, united in our common humanity and shared sorrow. We grieved for those who perished and remembered what brought us together as Americans.
Today, we honor the lives we lost 8 years ago. On a bright September day, innocent men, women, and children boarded planes and set off for work as they had so many times before. Unthinkable acts of terrorism brought tragedy, destruction, pain, and loss for people across our Nation and the world."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16