By Derek Gean (Fort Wood Community Editor)September 17, 2015
In a solemn ceremony, Fort Leonard Wood community members gathered to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks Friday on the steps of Hoge Hall.
Hundreds stood in the midst of the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Plaza flag to pray and remember "the day that changed a nation" during the Patriot Day remembrance ceremony.
Chaplain (Col.) Michael Thomas, senior installation chaplain, led the day's observance by paying tribute to the sacrifices of the nation since the day when two commercial planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York and another, which hit the Pentagon, in Washington D.C.
"Some of us here were in harms way that day, either in New York or at the Pentagon, and since then, millions have been in harm's way to fight terrorism during the past 14 years," Thomas said.
"All of us have lost someone we know, who has given their life on the alter of freedom. In the wake of those thousands of lives given, we continue to stand should-to-shoulder to serve our country as patriots," he said.
Chaplains (Lt. Col.) Doyle Coffman, deputy installation chaplain, and (Lt. Col.) James Paulson, community chaplain, read scripture and offered prayers of comfort. Following their prayers, Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, offered remarks.
"It is appropriate this morning to remember the nearly 3,000 who lost their lives on the 11th of September 2001, when America was attacked in an act of terror. (They were) people like you and me, starting their workday, grabbing a cup of coffee, (and) sitting at their desk at the Pentagon or the twin towers; or traveling on what they thought was just a routine flight," Savre said.
He said he appreciated the community taking part in the ceremony, because following the attacks, the nation pledged to never forget the events of that fateful day.
"We pause today to remember those lost and their friends and Families who were forever impacted. We should always pause and remember the heroes of that day … and certainly the first responders.
"We must never forget the example they set of bravery in the midst of danger. Heroes who ran towards danger rather than away, and their courageous actions saved lives and brought hope," Savre said.
He said the resolve has united a nation and its allies, who have been at war ever since.
"Hundreds of thousands have raised their right hands to join our military and deploy in defense of our nation, and more than 6,000 have given all in foreign lands as a result of this day 14 years ago. Countless more suffer from life-changing wounds. 9/11 strengthened our nation's resolve to defend our freedom and way of life," he said.
The commander encouraged everyone to never forget and to remember those currently serving in their thoughts and prayers.
Following Savre's remarks, the brief ceremony concluded with the playing of "Taps."