Patriot Day renews memories of '9/11' events
September 22, 2009
EIGHT YEARS to the day from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, military and civilian members of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) convened at the Presidio\'s Soldier Field for a solemn ceremony of remembrance and renewal.
The 2001 attacks were coordinated strikes by suicidal members of Al-Queda who hijacked four jet airliners. Two were piloted to crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, killing hundreds who were in the buildings. A third airliner crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., not far from Washington, D.C. and a fourth crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania . Nearly 3,000 are known to have died in the attacks, including all of the hijackers.
Patriot Day, as Sept. 11 is coming to be known in the United States, was for DLIFLC Commandant Col. Sue Ann Sandusky an opportunity to draw attention to the DLIFLC mission.
In remarks that opened the Presidio ceremony, she said the many DLIFLC students in attendance are "future global leaders, future analysts and attaches, men and women who will use their foreign language proficiency on the battlefield and in support of those on the battlefield." She said that as trained linguists, they will "help identify and respond to threats to our national security."
Noting that many DLIFLC faculty members were also in attendance, Sandusky said they come to the Presidio "from every corner of the Earth" and "remind us of the global significance of the events we remember today."
"All of us remember where we were and what we were doing on that day eight years ago," said guest speaker Lt. Gen. (Ret.) James R. Clapper, USA, who has served since April 2007 as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. "We will carry that memory for the rest of our lives, as individuals and as a nation."
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Clapper noted, Americans and peace-loving people around the world rallied against terrorism.
"Let us renew the true spirit of that day," Clapper said.
He said the language and cultural training provided by DLIFLC "creates awareness, sensitivity and tolerance between the United States and countries around the world" and serves to "strengthen our country and better our world."