By Tim Cherry, Belvoir EagleSeptember 16, 2011
The U.S. Army Cyber Command/U.S. 2nd Army honored the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a ceremony in Fort Belvoir's Woodlawn Chapel, Friday.
Soldiers recognized the courage displayed Sept. 11, 2001, by the many men and women who saved lives and the many more who gave their own.
"I ask that you don't get lost in the numbers but honor and remember the people. The many things they did and things that they never got a chance to do," said key note speaker Lt. Gen. Rhett A. Hernandez, U.S. Army Cyber Command/U.S. 2nd Army commander.
He said the anniversary allows for people to reflect on the last ten years and also prepare for the future.
"Above all the anniversary of 9/11 is a day to honor the memory of those we lost and to stand with their Families and loved ones," Hernandez said.
Hernandez also paid tribute to the Soldiers who have guarded the country from further terror during the past ten years.
"Faced with resilient adversaries our troops have proven themselves a generation of innovators," said Hernandez, citing Soldiers adoption of new tactics, technologies and the mastering of new languages.
"Our Soldiers, our civilians, our service men and women have simply been amazing."
Captain Lucas Sparks, Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, said Hernandez's speech was excellent.
The 10th year anniversary offered him an opportunity to reflect on his nine years of service.
"I was in college going to ROTC when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center," Sparks said. "It was a very emotional day and so shall the 10th anniversary be a very emotional time as well."
Captain Carlos Plata, Cyber command computer network operations planner helped organized the event. He said each section in the Cyber Command unit played a big role making the ceremony possible.
"We put a lot of hearts into this," Plata said.
The ceremony was originally planned to be held outside, but severe flooding on Sept. 8 forced the unit to move the occasion indoors.
The heavy rain didn't dampen the occasion.
"We were able to project our feelings on the events that took place on 9-11," Plata said.
Plata recognizes people handled the hardships of 9/11 in different ways.
"With this ceremony, the way it commenced, it allowed everybody to take a step back and think about what did take place and how it affected them and their Families and the Families of the victims," Plata said.
Plata, who was a servicemember on that tragic day, recalls 9/11 as a shocking, heart-hitting experience that's difficult to describe.
"I wanted to help as much as I could," Plata said.
The 10th anniversary made him think of how his children, who were born after the attack, would never see the World Trade Center in person.
"It changed the face of our country and, it being 10 years later, it's hard to put into words," Plata said.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Hernandez and Cyber Army Command/ U.S. 2nd Army Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Blackwood laid a wreath at the steps of the church altar in honor of former and present Soldiers and civilians of the Army Cyber unit and the Fort Belvoir community.
Hernandez said Soldiers' service and sacrifices since 9/11 allows the country to move forward from a position of strength.
"We're going to maintain our military superiority to keep America safe," Hernandez said. "I'm proud to be a part of the most disciplined, competent and fit force the world has ever seen."