Paying tribute: Fort Jackson to remember 9/11 victims
September 8, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- When American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m., Sept. 11, 2001, it set off a series of events that led to the deaths of almost 3,000 people as a direct result of the day's attacks and the deaths of more than 6,000 coalition service members in the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Fort Jackson will commemorate the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with several events, beginning with a wreath-laying ceremony to formally pay tribute to the victims of the attacks, scheduled for 9 a.m., Friday in front of Post Headquarters.
Col. Jeffrey Sanderson, Fort Jackson's chief of staff, compared the cultural impact of the attacks to another traumatic event in American history.
"Our fathers and grandfathers ... vividly recall where they were and what they were doing during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941," Sanderson said. "The 9/11 terror attacks are etched into our generation's collective memory, and all of us recall where we were and what we were doing when the terror began. By the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, we all knew the world had changed. As an Army, we have been at war ever since."
The ceremony will include an overview of the events of 9/11, a missing-persons display, a moment of silence and a 21-gun salute. The speaker will be Maj. Gen. James Milano, Fort Jackson's commanding general.
"The enemy attacked high-profile targets that day, but it was an attack all across America. We all felt the pain and heartache of the attack, regardless of where we were or what we were doing," Sanderson said. "The world changed in an instant and it is fitting that we pause and reflect on that tragic day, its long aftermath and all it represents."
On Saturday, community members will have the opportunity to embark on a 5K walk/run or 10K run to pay tribute to the victims. The run, which is set to start 7 a.m. at the Hilton Field Softball Complex, is hosted by the 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment.
Lt. Col. Bryan Hernandez, commander of the 3-34th, said he got the idea after taking command last year when he found out the battalion did not have a tradition in place to commemorate 9/11.
"I saw that we were beginning to forget one of the prime reasons we serve in the military - the defense of our nation," Hernandez said. "And so, I held a battalion formation with our cadre and Initial Entry Training Soldiers, and we had a short memorial ... ."
Hernandez said he decided to expand the commemoration this year by organizing the run.
"The 9/11 Memorial Run is our way to remember those great Americans who were killed on that tragic day in New York, Washington D.C., and in Pennsylvania," he said. "It is also our way to remember those who have fought and died in the war to ensure that an event like 9/11 does not ever happen again."
Runners and walkers will start and finish between two 10-foot replicas of the World Trade Center towers. Before the run, a 9/11 Pentagon survivor will share his story with the participants.
"We have an obligation to never forget that tragic day, as well as (to) ensure that our nation's younger generations do not as well," Hernandez said. "That is the only way to make sure it never happens again."