Soldiers at Camp Marmal reflect on ten-year anniversary of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
September 12, 2011
CAMP MARMAL, Afghanistan -- September 11, 2001 started like any other normal day in America. People were in the midst of their daily routines; sending their children off to school, going off to work and about their normal business and not knowing what their fate would hold.
That day, the United States suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history, but just like for many in the U.S. and around the world, images of that tragic September morning remain clear for Soldiers of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.
The Soldiers of the 1st ACB, along with members of the coalition here at Camp Marmal, paused from their normal routines to reflect on the events of Sept. 11 with a prayer breakfast on the ten-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
"Today, we pause to remember where we were and what it was like to watch the unfolding destruction of a familiar New York City horizon," said Cpt. James Ward, chaplain, Task Force Lobos, 1st ACB.
"We remember a desperate rush to save as many lives as possible, not knowing how many more lives it would cost," he added as he addressed those in attendance.
Memories of Sept. 11 are poignant for 1sg. Tanisha Geter, Company A, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st ACB, originally from Brooklyn, N.Y.
During the luncheon, Geter gave her thoughts and recollections of that September day.
"I remember it vividly as if it was this morning and not ten years ago," she said.
Geter's aunt worked three blocks away from the World Trade Center and usually walked by the WTC around the same time that both planes had struck the twin towers.
Moreover, Geter remembers the sense of desperation that she felt as she tried to call her family back home in New York.
"I just kept trying to call home that morning, as I cried and prayed that my family would be okay," she explained. "The thought that my aunt might have been part of this tragedy made my heart stop."
With the phone lines congested and no bridge of communication available between her and her family, she remained glued to the television in her office that afternoon as the masses crossed the Brooklyn Bridge covered in ashes as she wondered if her family had survived the attacks.
"It took days to find out that my family had survived," she said.
Sgt. 1st Class Steven Alejandro, who is assigned to Task Force Atlas, also spoke about his memories of Sept. 11. Alejandro was in New York City that day due to sheer coincidence. His grandmother required an emergency heart surgery and he had taken leave from his duty station in Korea to be by her side.
He looked through the window in the hospital as he had a clear view of the horrible events that unfolded that crisp September morning.
"I'll never forget it," he said. "I began to pray like I never had before."
He described the situation inside the hospital immediately after the attacks.
"Everybody started running, screaming and crying," he said. "The hospital had become a mad house."
Amidst the chaos, Alejandro said he saw that emergency response teams immediately responded.
"I've never seen New York City come together like it did on that day," he said.
Furthermore, Ward also touched on how the attacks managed to bring people together.
"We watched as people from every creed and every color met at Ground Zero to dig through rubble and search in hope," said Ward.
"Whatever our differences were, the curtain was pulled back on the American spirit that day."
That day would go down in infamy for the thousands of lives that were changed forever, and it's that day that brought together a group of service members from a vast array of backgrounds and nations to reflect ten years later.