Unforgotten: Ceremony commemorates 9/11 victims
September 15, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Members of the Fort Jackson community gathered in front of Post Headquarters Friday to pay their respects to the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks and to the service members who have since been killed and wounded in the war on terrorism.
Static displays served as visual reminders of the sacrifice made by emergency responders and military personnel in the wake of the attacks.
In his keynote address, Maj. Gen. James Milano, Fort Jackson's commanding general, reminded those in attendance that in defiance of the terrorists' goal to "destroy the spirit of America," Americans have risen to the challenge.
"Though nearly 3,000 men and women died that day, we did not falter, we did what Americans do best," Milano said. "We listened to our collective unyielding patriotic spirit that has been beating in our hearts since the Revolutionary War. We stood up to serve."
Milano said that legacy of service has been carried on with honor and heroism by American troops.
"For the past nine years, in Afghanistan and Iraq, they have borne the burdens of war," he said. "Our Soldiers, and their families, have faced the greatest test in the history of our all-volunteer force, serving tour after tour, year after year. Through their extraordinary service, they have written their own chapter in the American story. And by any measure, they have earned their place among the greatest of generations."
Milano was joined by Post Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Stall, Sgt. Chentile Jackson, Fort Jackson's Soldier of the Year and Fort Jackson emergency responders in the laying of a wreath in memory of the fallen.
David Shanes, a DA civilian with the Executive Services Office, said he appreciated the opportunity to pay tribute by attending the event.
"When (9/11) happened, I was stationed in Munich, (Germany), at the U.S. Forces Liaison Office. And so I watched it from a computer screen," Shanes said. "I think today was the first real opportunity I've ever had to attend such a ceremony, and I was ... grateful to be there."
Master Sgt. Michael Sellers, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of operations at Moncrief Army Community Hospital, said attending the ceremony was important to him.
"We have to honor those who have given all," Sellers said. "There was no doubt in my mind that this is the place to be - no question."
Sellers, whose brother died while preparing to deploy to Iraq in 2002, was visibly moved by the event.
"This is very touching for me," he said.