NATICK, Mass. (Sept. 11, 2013) -- At exactly 8:46 a.m., the Soldiers and civilians of the Natick Soldier Systems Center took a moment to pause and remember 9/11.

Eleven bells tolled to honor the memory of all the patriots lost on that day.

This observance provided a chance to pray for those lost on that tragic day, their families, and also to reflect on where we have been and are going as a nation.

Col. Collier Slade, military deputy commander, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, had a chance to reflect on this somber occasion.

"The events of September 11th, 2001, remain indelibly etched in our consciousness," Slade said. "We can all recall where we were and what we were doing at this dark hour when nearly 3,000 of our fellow citizens, going about their daily activities, would die in four unprovoked attacks."

The attacks on 9/11 shattered the normalcy of a beautiful, sunny morning and unleashed a chain of events that would affect Americans in ways that no one could have predicted.

"The hours, days and weeks that followed 9/11 were filled with disbelief, grief, anger and also a growing sense of determination; we would not be intimidated," Slade said. "We were determined not to let the terrorists destroy our way of life, and we resolved to fight.

"Fight like the passengers on Flight 93 did when they prevented another attack on the nation's capital," he said. "Fight like the first responders did as they clawed through rubble to find survivors."

Slade went on to say the terrorists who wanted to destroy the U.S. unknowingly unleashed the nations strength, courage, compassion and willingness to fight.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than five-million American men and women have served their nation in uniform. Two million Americans have served in war zones since 2001, and of these, more than 6,000 service members have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms that define America.

"As we pause today to remember the life-changing events that unfolded 12-years ago, you should be inspired to know that your important work, your dedication to developing the world's best Soldier systems, pays tribute to the sacrifice of the victims of 9/11, to our fallen service members, and to all those who are still in harm's way," Slade said. "May God bless those who lost their lives on September 11th and those who have given their lives in service to our country."