Today, White Sands Missile Range commemorates the 22nd anniversary of the tragic September 11 attacks. The installation held a Community Run this morning and a Remembrance Ceremony at the Chapel in the afternoon. Additionally, on September 9, the installation hosted a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at the LC32 Gantry, where participants climbed 2,071 steps.
The Remembrance Ceremony, held at the White Sands Missile Range Chapel, was a solemn occasion where Commanding General Eric D. Little paid tribute to the victims of the tragic events on that fateful day. As he spoke about the loss of 2,977 lives and the injuries suffered by another 6,000, Little reminded us of the bravery and heroism displayed by the first responders.
The Directorate of Emergency Services Honor Guard, consisting of representatives from the Fire Department and Police Division, also participated in the ceremony.
“It is important that we never forget and always remember all those firefighters that sacrificed and the police and law enforcement that made sacrifices to save lives
that day,” said Noel Salas, Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention, Fire and Emergency Services.
As a tribute to the fallen police officers, there was a ‘Final Call’ over the police department radios during the ceremony. This traditional ceremony is for officers whose lives are lost in the line of duty. The tribute for the fallen firefighters was a ‘Ringing of the Bell.’ At this ceremony, there were three bell rings three times.
“Honoring our first responders goes along with everything else. In the same way, we will never forget the individuals who fought in Vietnam, World War I, and World War II; we always want to remember and keep them close to our hearts. We do the same for our first responders.”
On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes and intentionally flew two into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The fourth plane, where passengers launched a counter-attack, crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, near Shanksville.
On December 18, 2001, President Bush signed Public Law No: 107-89, designating September 11 as Patriot Day. 2009 Congress designated September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Keeping in mind the lessons learned from the attack that rattled the nation over two decades ago, the Army continues to build on its long history of defending America through strong leadership, the commitment and courage of Soldiers, and their ability to quickly adapt to changing security threats.