By Brig. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general
September 11, 2001. At 8:46 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, an airplane flew into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. In the confusion that ensued, America was left wondering what happened. 16 minutes later, a second airplane struck the South Tower. America was under attack. The 2,977 lives lost in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia set into motion the longest continuous conflict in America’s history.
Today, 19 years later, we observe Patriot Day to honor those lost in the attack, the first responders who risked their lives and the millions of men and women who have answered America’s call to serve. Our service members continue to stand guard as our nation’s sword and shield to defend the freedoms promised by our Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by our Constitution.
In the wake of the events on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans came together to mourn, heal and persevere. Today, let us resolve to reclaim that spirit of unity. Every service member and Department of Defense civilian serves to protect the idea that we are all created equal, regardless of race, gender, creed or sexual orientation. Under the red, white and blue of the flag, we are all Americans. We are all committed to the defense of this great nation. Valuing each team member and their unique contributions helps make us the greatest military in the world.
This morning — as the flags fly at half-mast — we ask you to observe a moment of silence to remember and reflect upon the sacrifices of our patriots, service members, retirees, civil service and families. Thank you all for your continued hard work and commitment to make our post, our military and our nation stronger.
Victory Starts Here — Victory Through Skill!