By Staff Sgt. Joel Salgado (USAREUR)September 11, 2013
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Today marks the 12-year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in which nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives. The terrorist attacks that led to the Global War on Terror have affected the lives of Soldiers, Families and communities across the nation.
As the country takes the time to reflect and remember the attacks, the Fort Campbell community pays its respects in a different way. On this solemn day they honor the fallen by continuing to train and prepare to serve their nation.
The post still wakes to the sounds of Soldiers calling cadence as they conduct physical training; weapons-fire rings out as Soldiers practice their marksmanship; the sound of helicopters still echoes across the base.
The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) has been involved from the beginning of the conflict and the Fort Campbell community has felt the rigors of the past twelve years of combat. Soldiers have missed their child's first steps, spouses have grieved for their loved ones at remembrance ceremonies and the base as a whole feels the ebb and flow of deployments.
"It makes it very difficult," said Amber Hamilton, whose husband is assigned to 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. "He's not there for the everyday things."
Hamilton moved closer to family during her husband's last deployment. She stressed the need for family members to build a support network in the unit, to share experiences and to have someone to talk with.
Despite 12 years of conflict, the bonds the terrorists sought to break have only grown stronger. Soldiers come to view one another as family, building lifetime bonds during deployments.
"Our platoon is really close, so is our whole company," said Cpl. Clay Fleming, an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT. "I've built relationships and brotherhood that will last me my whole life."
Clay said the bonds Soldiers share and the friendships they establish during a deployment are invaluable and help to increase a unit's morale and cohesion.
The Soldiers and Families of Fort Campbell show the resiliency that can only come from a shared experience of this magnitude. The sacrifice and hardship of the past twelve years have not been in vain. The Soldiers of the 101st are leaving their mark on history.
"For those of us in the 101st, we know what it is like to be at that critical point, that decisive time in a war," said Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, the Division Commander. "Just as the 101st Airborne Division had a rendezvous with destiny to help determine the fate of the free world in World War II, we now have a rendezvous with destiny to help determine an enduring and appropriate outcome to our hard-fought efforts of the last twelve years."
McConville also encouraged the community Take time to remember the sacrifices made then and the sacrifices still being made today.
"As we reflect on the twelve-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks take time to remember where you were during the attacks," he said. "Never forget."