Picatinny Arsenal remembers 22nd anniversary of 9/11 attacks

By Eric KowalSeptember 11, 2023

Firefighter Ean Chong carries the U.S. flag as other members of the Picatinny Arsenal Fire Department render a hand salute.  The flag will be carried for 24-hours as part of the installation's moving flag tribute, part of Picatinny Arsenal's September 11 remembrance ceremony.
Firefighter Ean Chong carries the U.S. flag as other members of the Picatinny Arsenal Fire Department render a hand salute. The flag will be carried for 24-hours as part of the installation's moving flag tribute, part of Picatinny Arsenal's September 11 remembrance ceremony. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Jesse Glass) VIEW ORIGINAL

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. – A 21-gun salute with three howitzers was part of a wreath-laying ceremony here on Sept. 11 in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.

Marines fired blank rounds from artillery pieces situated at the Visitor Center parking lot during the observance, which marked the 22nd anniversary of the attacks.

The wreath was placed on the 9/11 memorial marker by the Picatinny Arsenal Commanding General, Brig. Gen. John T. Reim, and Picatinny Arsenal Garrison Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Franks.

Several feet away from the memorial marker are three, red oak memorial trees for New Jersey Sailors--Cmdr. Robert E. Dolan, Cmdr. Patrick Dunn and Aviation Warfare Systems Operator Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph J. Pycior, Jr.--who died in the Pentagon attack on 9/11.

Also close to the memorial marker is a red-oak tree memorial for Sgt. Steven D. Checo, the first New Jersey Soldier to die in Afghanistan. Sgt. Checo died on Dec. 21, 2002, from gunshot wounds received during a firefight near Shkin, Afghanistan.

Those four, red-oak tree memorials are part of 174 similar memorials throughout Picatinny that have been planted and dedicated for New Jersey service members who have died in overseas operations since Sept. 11, 2001.

“Today, we remember those who lost their lives at the Pentagon, in New York City, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania,” said Reim during the ceremony. “Their names are etched in our hearts, and we pledge that their sacrifice will never be forgotten. It is because of them that Picatinny Arsenal remains vigilant and prepared to confront any challenge that may arise.

“For decades, the greatest minds from all walks of life have come here to these cannon gates to selflessly serve this great nation. Picatinny continues to be at the forefront in our nation’s defense and in the defense of our allies. This Arsenal is a hub of innovation and research, ensuring the readiness of our Joint Warfighters and international partners by providing overmatch capabilities. We, as Americans, continue to expect a vigilant and prepared Arsenal of Democracy capable of successfully deterring and when required defeating our enemies.

“The shared experience of facing adversity and persevering binds us together as a nation,” the general continued. “It unites Soldiers, civilians, families, and all Americans. Today, we honor the memories of those we lost and pay tribute to the patriots who have stood up in defense of our freedom.”

After the conclusion of the remembrance ceremony, the Picatinny Arsenal Fire Department hosted a moving flag tribute starting in the main fire house parking lot. In the moving flag tribute, an American Flag will be carried continuously for 24-hours over a 1.3-mile course by Picatinny Arsenal employees, service members, and families.

The remembrance ceremony and the moving flag tribute are conducted to honor of all those who lost their lives on 9/11 and those who have died while serving in overseas contingency operations since those tragic events.

Thousands of Americans and citizens of other nations died as a result of two aircraft attacks that caused the collapse of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York City, the aircraft attack on the Pentagon, and the downing of United Airlines Flight 93 into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001.

U.S. Army photos by Jesse Glass

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YouTube video of ceremony below