ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. – It was an ordinary Tuesday morning. On that day 2,996 people woke up and prepared for their day. Most of them would go to work, but 265 of them headed to the airport to catch their flights. By 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time most would all be dead
They were the victims of the largest terrorist attack in American history – many were the men and women who tried to save victims of the crashes. By lunch time a stunned and grieving nation realized that September 11, 2001 was no longer an ordinary day.
Nineteen years later, as they have every year since that horrible day, the service members and civilians of Rock Island Arsenal held their annual 9-11 remembrance ceremony paying tribute to those who lost their lives on that day and to those who fell in the defense of freedom afterward.
The ceremony honored both those who died in the terrorist attacks, and three Quad Cities-area Soldiers; Lt. Col. Robert Baldwin, Cpt. Joshua Steel and Spc. Kyle Wright, who gave their lives in the Global War on Terrorism.
During the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Thomas S. James, commanding general of First Army, spoke of how everything changed in an instant on that beautiful Tuesday morning, and how, “ordinary people [became] truly extraordinary”.