By Dustin Perry, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsSeptember 11, 2012
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Sept. 12, 2012) -- "That day that we all know as 9/11 changed more than the skyline of New York City. It left more than a wound in the Pentagon, or a scar on a field in Pennsylvania. It changed a generation of Americans, it changed our Army, and it changed the world."
Those words, spoken by Col. Kevin R. Bishop on the 11th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, punctuated remarks he gave during a remembrance ceremony held Tuesday at the Community Activity Center here.
Bishop, the deputy commander of U.S. Army Japan and I Corps (Forward), shared his memory of visiting the World Trade Center with his family in 1979, and recounted his thoughts as he watched the events of 9/11 unfold. He told those in attendance that the 19 terrorists who carried out the attacks actually failed in their objective.
"I'm sure the al-Qaida network that planned and prepared for so long thought they would bring America to its knees -- that the destruction and devastation would condemn us all to a future filled with fear." said Bishop. "But they really did not understand Americans ... and could not imagine our reaction."
Earlier in the ceremony, Soldiers and civilians from Camp Zama recited narratives that described the fates of the four commercial aircraft that were hijacked and purposely crashed, ultimately leading to the deaths of more than 3,000 people that day. Each narrative was followed by the ringing of a brass bell to honor the lives lost.
A memorial wreath was then laid by U.S. Army Garrison Japan Command Sgt. Maj. Katrina Najee. Reflecting on the anniversary of 9/11, Najee said that day continues to evoke strong emotions in her because it was "something that had a big impact on not only me, but also the military and our families, as well."
"It didn't just affect the United States; it affected the whole world," said Najee. "I hope especially the younger Soldiers understand why we are where we are today -- not to remember the few who did so wrong, but the many who did so great."
Bishop was the guest speaker at last year's 9/11 remembrance ceremony, and recalled his description of a veteran as someone who is willing to write a "life check" that is payable at any time.
"I still hope, and will always hope, that we will never be required to make a deposit that covers a life check," said Bishop, "but I am honored to be here with all of you who use the same bank."
Bishop noted the significant transformations the U.S. military has undergone in the past 11 years, and the successes that have occurred as a result. He closed by urging attendees to not only remember those who died on 9/11, but also the more than 6,000 service members thus far who have died during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.