By Mr. David B Crozier (TRADOC)September 13, 2017
The U. S. Army Sergeants Major Academy and Sergeants Major Course Class 68 paid its respects to, and remembered those, who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, during a Patriot Day observance held Monday, September 11, in the academy's Cooper Lecture Center.
The program began with the showing of the presidential proclamation on the big screen allowing those in attendance to silently read it. The proclamation was followed by the narrator recalling the timeline of events which began with the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, leaving Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts at 7:50 a.m., noting the number of passengers on it and each of the other aircraft high jacked that day -- United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 93. Once the timeline was complete a moment of silence ensued.
For each site targeted by the terrorist attacks, Class 68 lit a candle and told a story about an individual. For the World Trade Center, Fire Chief Orio Palmer who led the team of firefighters that reached the 78th floor of the South Tower and died when the tower collapsed. For the Pentagon the story of Sgt. Maj. Lacey B. Ivory was told. He was attending a meeting in the Deputy Chief of Staff's office when the plane hit. Finally the story of Shanksville, Pennsylvania and Waleska Martinez. She was a native of Puerto Rico who worked for the U.S. Census Bureau and was on her way to San Francisco on Flight 93.
Guest speaker for the event was Jeff Davis, director of Plans and Operations for USASMA, and who began his remarks with a quote from Thorton Wilder, an American playwright and novelist.
"'The highest tribute to the dead, is not grief, but gratitude,'" Davis read. "Although he did not live to see the events unfold on September 11, 2001, his words should hold meaning to all who witnessed the tragedy that fell upon our nation that fateful day."
Davis continued noting the attack of 16 years ago was arguably the greatest tragedy in American history, but the country has persevered and triumphed holding those who brought war to the nation's shores accountable.
"Today we remember with reverence the people that were taken from us; the talents, the friendships, and the love that was torn from the very soul of our nation," he said. "Sixteen years later we gather and gratefully remember as patriots those innocents who unexpectedly and tragically became the first casualties in America's longest period of armed conflict."
Davis proceeded saying today we celebrate and remember the citizen and honor the patriot. He evoked that all citizens are patriots -- those in military uniform or take care of the wounded; those who wear a badge or wield a fireman's axe; those who are our neighbors or friends.
"Today we remember the patriot. Today we honor the memory of the thousands who were tor from our community and the thousands more who stepped up to rescue, comfort and recover," Davis said. "We honor the memory and bravery of those who rushed in to save those in danger and ultimately lost their own lives inn service to their community."
USASMA is home to a piece of history from that day with an artifact of the Koenig Sphere on display in the foyer of the lecture center, Davis noted. The Academy also takes pride in being able to present the Association of the Army's Larry Strickland Leadership Award and Scholarship to a graduating members of the Sergeants Major Course each year. Strickland was only days away from retirement when he went to work that day in the Pentagon.
"There are moments in time that we all remember; graduations, weddings, the birth of a child," Davis said. "But there are some moments we should never forget."
Additional hi-resolution photos of this event are posted to the USASMA Flicker page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/133821783@N02/albums.