FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – Twenty-two years ago, the events of September 11, 2001, shook the nation to its core. The following 20 years of war brought together men and women from all backgrounds to serve this great nation selflessly with the support of their families and loved ones. Although over two decades have passed, those who lived through it, and those who were affected by it, still pledge to ensure we as a nation never forget.
The U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command headquarters' religious affairs team hosted the NETCOM Memorial Prayer Breakfast Sept. 11 in front of Greely Hall.
The event honored the memory of the nearly 3,000 souls lost on September 11, 2001, and paid tribute to all the patriots and their families who have sacrificed their lives for freedom.
“We are here to commemorate those victims and fallen Soldiers,” said Chaplain (Col.) Hyeonjoong “Mike” Kim, NETCOM Command Chaplain. “As we honor their memories, maybe [we can] find the wisdom and resolve to build a better world where all people can live without fear.”
After Chaplain Kim and those in attendance participated in a moment of silence and prayer to show respect for the lives lost on 9/11, NETCOM Chief of Staff, Lt. Col. (P) Robert Topper Jr., reflected on this day 22 years ago.
“September 11, 2001, is a day that forever changed our lives,” Topper said. “It was a day of immense tragedy and loss, but also a day that revealed the strength of our spirit and the power of faith. Each one of us has a unique story of where we were on that fateful day, and how it impacted us spiritually.”
As those in attendance shared a moment of reflection, many of those who lived through it or deployed after it, somber expressions echoed the words from Chaplain (Maj.) Stephen Taylor, NETCOM Deputy Command Chaplain.
“We pray for all of those who lost a dad, or a mom, a sister or a brother, a daughter or a son, a husband or a wife on that day,” Taylor said. “Help us to be mindful of the 22 years of missed birthdays and holidays. Help us to honor their memories as we cherish lives ourselves.”
A painful, sometimes uncomfortable, memory of that day and the years after, looms over events like these. Although the memory can evoke these feelings, the importance of remembering its significance cannot be understated.
“This country is filled with people who are willing to sacrifice for that which is right,” said guest speaker Chaplain (Col.) Darren Chester, Command Chaplain, U.S. Army Cyber Command. “America is full of people who are willing to make sure that its people are protected and willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to ensure American people are protected.”
Whether people raised their right hands as an oath to protect the people of this nation, or people looked past perceived differences or political affiliations to show support for those lost souls and their loved ones or those deployed in support of the fight against terrorism, in a time of great tragedy the nation was united.
“9/11 enabled our society to unify,” said Chester. “At that moment when we all realized we had to face this common enemy, none of that stuff mattered.”
Twenty-two years later, remembering 9/11 is even more important now than ever before.
“A new generation has come along which really does not have any memory of the events of 9/11,” Chester explained.
Addressing those in attendance who were part of that generation, Chester commended them for attending and spoke on why it’s significant.
“It’s going to be your job in the future to steward that memory,” Chester said. “The voices of those who remember that day, who can speak of that day, will soon fall silent. It’s not here yet, but it’s coming very quickly. We can never forget that day and the things that it brought to this nation.”
As a nation, we must never forget. In remembering, let’s not focus on what was lost, but instead on how the nation and people can continue to affect positive change.
“As we remember the lives lost and the heroes who emerged on September 11th, let us commit ourselves to a future guided by love, understanding and empathy,” Topper said. “Regardless of our individual spiritual paths, let us join together in the spirit of unity, healing and hope.”