JACKSONVILLE, N.C. --
Marines, Sailors and Civilians:
On September 11, 2001, almost 3,000 people lost their lives in the largest terrorist attack on American soil during the attacks at the Twin Towers, Pentagon and aboard United Airlines Flight 93. At 8:46 a.m. ET, American Airlines Flight 11 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) hit the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At 9:03 a.m. ET, United Airlines Flight 175 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) hit the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At 9:37 a.m. ET, American Airlines Flight 77 (traveling from Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles) hit the Pentagon Building in Washington D.C. And at 10:03 a.m. ET, United Airlines Flight 93 (traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco) crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Among the fatalities that day, there were 343 firefighters, 72 law enforcement officers and 55 military personnel. These courageous Americans were killed doing extraordinary things. While many people were running away, these heroes were running toward and into the buildings to save lives without any concern for the safety of their own lives.
Tomorrow, around the country, many Americans will pause to remember those who lost their lives on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, vowing to “never forget” and remember the day that changed America forever. Not only did it change America, it changed the world forever. I, myself, will never forget the range of emotions I experienced that horrific day and four numbers always stick with me… 0846, 0903, 0937 and 1003. As the former 41st President George W. Bush famously said at ground zero “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” Six weeks later, the United States launched its war on terror, targeting Taliban sites in Afghanistan. Since that time, the nation has lost over 7,000 service members in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We can never forget who did these attacks and we must remain vigilant during a period of uncertainty in the world today. There still is a potent and determined enemy who would like nothing more than to destroy our way of life. Now, as we approach the 20th anniversary of September 11th tomorrow, I’d ask that you take time to reflect upon the events that have transpired over the course of two decades. Remember those who sacrificed and gave all for the freedoms that we cherish today like no other nation. It’s important to remember that we were attacked because we love our freedom.
I’ll end with another inspiring quote from President George Bush while at the Pentagon in 2008. “One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.” Enjoy your weekend, but let us not forget!
Semper Fidelis and God Bless,
Col C. V. Ebitz