FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii (Sept. 12, 2012) -- Soldiers and family members from U.S. Army Pacific paid tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States during a remembrance ceremony, Sept. 11, on Palm Circle at Fort Shafter.

"It was a strike at the core of what it means to be American," said Maj. Gen. Joseph Chaves, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific. "What brings us together in remembrance are the same feelings of dedication and common cause that united us that day, and forever since."

The eleven years since Sept. 11, 2001, have been filled with both triumph and loss. To date more than 6,600 Americans have given their lives in Overseas Contingency Operations conducted in response to the attacks on the United States.

"The price our country has paid is high," said Chaves, who stood before a large formation of Soldiers representing the Army presence in Hawaii. "But our efforts over the last decade have not been in vain and have prevented our enemies any further successful attacks against our homeland."

Chaves told those gathered that from late 2001 to present day over three million people have chosen to serve. They made the choice knowing they would serve in harm's way and represented today's all-volunteer force and the ethics and values of a great nation.

Chaves closed out his remarks by asking those gathered to reflect upon the sacrifices of our citizens, our first responders, our military, and our Gold Star Families [those families who have lost service members].

"We can never forget the horrific events of 9/11, but we should take pride that our nation came together and rose to the daunting challenge before it," Chaves said. "Reflect on the service and duty embraced by our military, the sacrifices it has made, and the triumphs it has achieved through the embodiment of our American values."

On Sept. 11, 2001, more than 3,000 American citizens lost their lives to the largest surprise attack in U.S. history since Pearl Harbor. Today marked the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that forever changed the lives of all Americans.

Each year since the attacks, U.S. Army Pacific has commemorated the anniversary of the event with a ceremony on Palm Circle.