By turns somber and passionate, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) remembered the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in a Patriot Day ceremony this week.
Dozens of members of the workforce participated in commemorative events, a formal ceremony followed by a five kilometer remembrance walk-run in the quiet early morning hours.
In remarks at the ceremony, Col. Patrick McFall, YPG commander, reflected upon the losses of that grim day.
“On September 11, 2001, our memories and consciences were seared by the sight of mighty buildings burning and collapsing, and the bitter knowledge that more than 3,000 of our fellow citizens, people like you and me going about their daily business, were cruelly murdered,” he said.
McFall gave particular credit to the heroism displayed by the more than 400 police officers and fire fighters killed in a valiant effort to save others that day.
“We mourn their loss and honor their sacrifice, but also take comfort and pride in the knowledge that there are millions of other first responders who would, without hesitation, do the exact same thing,” he said. “That includes the police officers and firefighters of YPG.”
McFall also asked the audience to remember the burden borne by our nation’s Soldiers and the key role YPG played in saving countless others from death and injury.
“After 9/11, thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation and values,” he said. “But thousands- I repeat, thousands- more of our troops were saved from death and injury by the work performed by our dedicated employees at Yuma Proving Ground. Our workforce proved year after year that it will rise to any challenge if it involves protecting our nation and its troops.”
McFall said this important work could not have been accomplished without the longstanding support of the Yuma community, which YPG has enjoyed for nearly 80 years.
“The citizens of Yuma County are the most patriotic and supportive of the military that I have encountered in my nearly 25 years in uniform. Local government organizations like Yuma County and the City of Yuma have always given their utmost to help us carry out our vital mission.”
McFall vowed to continue to honor the sacrifices wrought by the September 11th attacks and urged others to live by the attack’s important lesson.