KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- As the states flags blow in the wind, symbolizing that fall had finally arrived, members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community gathered to pay homage to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, on Panzer Parade Field, Sept. 11.
The 21st Theater Sustainment Command's remembrance and retreat ceremony, marked the 16-year anniversary of 9/11 with a special commemoration for all those who lost their lives during the attacks. The number of victims that day: 2,977 men, women and children.
Brig. Gen. Frederick R. Maiocco, deputy commanding general 21st Theater Sustainment and 7th Mission Support Command commander, served as guest speaker for the ceremony.
"We honor and remember those lost, but we also recognize that on that day, a date that once held no special meaning to us, our country and a generation of Americans were changed in an instant," said Maiocco.
Maiocco, and Command Sgt.Maj. Raymond Brown, 7th Mission Support Command sergeant major presented a wreath of flowers in remembrance.
Heads hung for a moment of silence, then the highest honor, a rifle salute, Soldiers and family members remembered the victims and also their brothers and sisters in arms who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
"Just as earlier generations of Americans overcame great tests and turmoil, the 9/11 generation has risen to the challenges of our time, ensuring that America will emerge even stronger," Maiocco said.
The president at the time, George W. Bush, addressed the nation and within days, coordinated a comprehensive national strategy, along with Homeland Security, to safeguard the country against terrorism and respond to future attacks.
"Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve," Bush said.
21st TSC members also took the opportunity to remember how the 9/11 attacks affected them personally.
"The lives that were lost that day, in my field, we had a lot of Soldiers out there recovering remains," said Sgt. 1st Class Erik Thomsen, 21st Theater Sustainment Command mortuary NCOIC. "9-11 is a day that I will remember, I was in the California National Guard and it caused me to really rethink the stuff we take for granted."
Other members took the ceremony as a renewed source of resolve.
"It's something that affected the American way of life," said Sgt. Major Dorian Green, 21st TSC G-3 sergeant major. "We should never forget."