A day of service and remembrance

By Maya GreenSeptember 6, 2023

Soldier standing in front of 9/11 memorial
Courtesy photo. (Photo Credit: Charles Leffler, U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — President George W. Bush designated September 11 as Patriot Day on Dec. 8, 2001. Then in 2009, Congress established September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Commonly, the day is referred to as 9/11.

Both declarations honor the memory of the nearly 3,000 lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, from the deadly terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C.

On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 terrorists from the Islamic terrorist group, al Qaeda, hijacked four commercial aircrafts. Two planes crashed into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and the final plane, Flight 93, was taken back under the control of the brave passengers who fought back, crashing the plane into an empty field in Pennsylvania, minutes by air from Washington D.C.

The Twin Towers collapsed from the damage and fire that erupted from the crash. While most of the deaths were caused by the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon lost 184 civilians and service members and 40 people were killed on Flight 93.

Stories from our CECOM staff

Staff of the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Command provided brief statements, detailing their stories surrounding 9/11.

CECOM Software Engineering Center IT Specialist Jesse Rinaldi was 5 years old and living in New York when the towers were hit.

“My most distinct memory from that day was waiting outside to be picked up just a few hours after getting to school and seeing parents crying, yelling, grabbing their kids and rushing off,” he recalled. “I remember when we got home my mom was constantly on the phone, watching the news and crying.”

9/11 significantly impacted his life and led him to dream of working in public service, Rinaldi said.

“I don’t think I would be here today serving the Army and the country without the impacts 9/11 had on my childhood as a New Yorker,” he stated.

CECOM SEC Senior Threat Analyst William Shaw worked search and recovery at the Pentagon on the evening of 9/11 and the days following.

“I am proud to be a CECOM employee providing invaluable lifesaving information to pilots,” Shaw said. “It gives me the feeling that I am still a contributor.”

For CECOM Integrated Logistics Support Center Lead Logistics Management Specialist Rita Savage, 9/11 had a mental impact.

“I became aware that I need to appreciate the fragility of our lives,” she said. “We need to seize the moment and appreciate family as an integral part of our lives.”

CECOM’s very own Command Chief Warrant Officer Linc W. McCoy was a sergeant at Fort Moore (formerly Fort Benning) during the events that occurred on 9/11.

Fort Moore is the Maneuver Center of Excellence, providing trained and combat-ready Soldiers and leaders to the Army. Tensions and fear were high at the army post, and everyone was deeply worried about their family and loved ones, he said.

“I was worried about my family and tried to get in touch with them but was unsuccessful because of the flooded phone lines,” McCoy said. “In turn, I was able to refocus my attention to ensuring I stayed mentally present at work along with making sure my 15-year-old younger brother—who was currently living with me to finish high school—was safe at home.”

McCoy worked 12-hour security shifts on post for four days before he was able to take a few days off to drive to New York City with his brother to physically check on his family.

“Prayerfully, we did not lose any immediate family members due to them working on the other side of the city at that time but did hear about others we were close with,” he said. “I also found out about a week after the Pentagon was hit, that a close military friend was 15 minutes away from losing his life due to having just left the west side of the Pentagon for a meeting off site.”

Shortly following 9/11, the number of Soldiers enlisting for Initial Entry Training increased expeditiously at Fort Moore, McCoy stated.

“It was definitely a moment of inspirational motivation,” he added. “I wanted to ensure I not only did my part to make sure they were ready but also continue to stress the importance of everyone’s position on the battlefield.”

These egregious acts against humanity shattered the nation’s sense of security. But grief and fear turned into outrage and perseverance. The nation came together as one and pushed forward with reinforced strength. Those killed and their families will never be forgotten and because of them, the Army remains vigilant and prepared for future challenges.

We honor the memories of the souls lost on 9/11, by paying tribute to all the patriots and their families who have sacrificed their lives in defense of liberty and justice for all.

Remember to be considerate of those still affected by the aftershock, and to be thoughtful and kind every day.