More than 100 Soldiers, civilians, veterans, and Gold Star Families gathered at Centennial Park Sept. 10 to remember those who gave their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the following global war on terrorism during a wreath laying ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
“We come together today to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Patriot Day,” said U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commanding General Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis. “Most of us remember exactly where we were on that clear Tuesday morning. The clarity of those hours, etched forever. For many, it is our generation’s Pearl Harbor. The wreaths laying today honors the actions of our fellow Americans on 9/11.”
Seven wreaths made of red, white and blue roses, adorned with white ribbons were placed at the base of the installation flag pole by command teams from across the post.
The first wreath was placed in honor of all those who gave their lives since 9/11 by the Fort Jackson Command Team.
To honor the firefighters and first responders during the falling of the World Trade Center was placed by the 193rd Infantry Brigade command team.
For those who died on United Airline flights 175 and 93 and American Airlines flights 11 and 77, a wreath was carried and placed by the command team of Moncrief Army Health Clinic.
The Soldier Support Institute command team presented a wreath in honor of the victims of New York’s twin towers and Pentagon staff.
A wreath honoring Gold Star Family members who lost loved ones during the terror attacks and the following wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was placed by command team members of the Leader Training Brigade and U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy.
A final wreath honoring the surviving children of those lost during the terror attacks and following 20 year war was placed alongside them by the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School command team.
“This ceremony, to me, really helps us understand where we have been. As we begin to get further and further away from (2001) we start to forget the feelings we had that day,” said Col. Mark Huhtanen, 193rd Infantry Brigade commander. “It brought our nation together in a way that we haven’t seen for years. Doing ceremonies like this helps bring back that feeling and remembrance.”
The Fort Jackson’s salute battery fired a 21-gun salute at the ceremony.
As the last volley was fired, a lone 282nd Army Band bugler closed the ceremony with the playing of Taps, a traditional component of military funerals and memorial events since 1891.
“The laying of the wreaths represent the strength of our nation. That we honor those who were lost and those who have sacrificed,” Michaelis said. “I am mindful that no words offer and no deeds that we do can truly erase the pains of loss but we honor your sacrifice. May we never forget the meaning of 9/11.”