By Col. Richard Goldenberg, Joint Force Headquarters-New York September 11, 2013
NEW YORK (Sept. 11, 2013) -- The ground zero experiences of five New York National Guard Soldiers are featured in a new online exhibit of the 9/11 Tribute Center.
The Tribute Center released the exhibit, "The National Guard: Stories of September 11th told by those who were there," as part of the commemoration of the 12th anniversary of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
This interactive web exhibit, at www.tributewtc.org, documents the National Guard's response to the 9/11 attacks.
Viewers and educators across the country can experience individual stories from five National Guard Soldiers who responded on 9/11. Retired New York Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto, who commanded New York National Guard troops in the weeks following the Guard response and later led many of those Guard Soldiers in Iraq, is featured in the introductory segment.
"This interactive web exhibit helps tell the story of our New York National Guard men and women who put boots on the ground here at the World Trade Center and would go on to serve overseas, proving their value in serving their state and their nation," said Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the adjutant general of the New York National Guard. "I wish to thank the 9/11 Tribute Center for adding our unique stories and experiences to the educational programs that reach around our country and around the globe."
On 9/11, National Guard citizen-Soldiers left their jobs, mobilized and responded within hours of the attacks. By nightfall, hundreds of local units responded without formal orders to assist first responders at ground zero while thousands of additional troops were in position throughout the city. National Guard elements from across New York state deployed to lower Manhattan to assist in the rescue, response and recovery. The security effort in partnership with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and emergency managers continues to the present day.
The 9/11 Tribute Center is dedicated to collecting the stories of 9/11, told by those who were there. The 9/11 Tribute staff collected these first-person accounts and created an interactive web exhibit that reflects the depth and scope of service of America's National Guard.
"I spent nine months working the recovery at the World Trade Center site, and National Guard Soldiers gave me a sense of comfort during times of great turmoil," recalled Lee Ielpi, president and co-founder of the 9/11 Tribute Center. "The importance of the National Guard can be summed up in a few words: service, valor and patriotism. Tribute is proud to present a web exhibit that will help the public and students better understand the role of the National Guard on 9/11 and in the aftermath of the attacks."
"The National Guard made history on September 11th, 2001, and I'm thrilled that our role in the response at ground zero can be part of the 9/11 Tribute Center education outreach," said Taluto. "That's our story, we're the homeland defense force for our nation, and for the hundreds of thousands of National Guard Soldiers and Airmen who later deployed overseas to fight, it all started here."
ABOUT THE 9/11 TRIBUTE CENTER
The public, educators and students can now see and hear stories from Soldiers who searched through the smoldering debris field for survivors, a Soldier who secured the perimeter of the site, a Soldier who conducted biological testing of the area, Soldiers who protected nuclear power plants, bridges and roads, and Soldiers who went on to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will hear stories of a country, community and individuals forever changed.
The 9/11 Tribute Center is a museum opened in 2006 by the September 11th Families Association. Located directly across from the World Trade Center, the 9/11 Tribute Center shares the personal history and engages visitors in the authentic experiences of people directly impacted by the events of Feb. 26, 1993, and Sept. 11, 2001: family members of lost loved ones, survivors, first responders and people who live and work in Lower Manhattan.
THE NEW YORK NATIONAL GUARD AND 9/11
The first members of the U.S. military to recognize that something was wrong the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, were members of the New York Air National Guard Eastern Air Defense Sector on duty in Rome, N.Y. By the end of the day more than 8,000 members of the Army National Guard were mobilized by the governor and New York Air National Guard jets were conducting combat air patrols over American cities. Units across New York City, Long Island and Westchester provided hundreds of Army Guard Soldiers to assist first responders at the World Trade Center and in Manhattan.
Troops assisted with initial rescue efforts, security for first responders and law enforcement and provided additional expertise for logistics, security administration and recovery support. Soldiers and Airmen assisted city residents, emergency responders and recovery crews in the single largest response mission for the state's military forces.
Over the following weeks, the New York National Guard continued to expand its emergency and recovery operations at ground zero that transitioned into security augmentation duties alongside city, state and federal officials that continue to this day.