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    A Sailor Remembers


    Photo By Brandon L Parker | 160910-N-HG389-074 SOMERSET Penn. (Sept. 10, 2016) Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Parker 

    Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific

    September 11, 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, during which terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda highjacked four commercial flights and targeted prominent targets in the United States.

    The first two aircraft intentionally crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon. The passengers on the fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, attempted to retake the plane. The aircraft crashed in Somerset, Pennsylvania, without making it to its intended target.

    On the anniversary of this date, it is important to remember the events and remember the lives lost.

    The United States over the years has done much to construct memorials of the attacks.

    In New York, reflecting pools were made to commemorate the original location of the World Trade Center, and a museum was constructed. A memorial for the Pentagon includes 184 illuminated benches, arranged by the ages of the victims and inscribed with their names. The height of the bench corresponds with the age of the victim, with the tallest being 71 inches and the shortest being 3 inches. The memorial in Somerset, Pennsylvania, consists of a large wall signifying the plane’s final flight path. It ends at what is now a closed crash site. Only the families of the victims are allowed to visit this final crash site.

    I have spent more than half my career in and around these tributes and monuments.

    When I worked for the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, I witnessed ceremonies performed with the utmost reverence at all three crash site memorials. I was there for the annual September 11 walk of the flight line, wreath-laying ceremonies in Arlington National Cemetery and at the Pentagon Memorial, and at a symbolic flag folding at Ground Zero in New York City.

    The Navy has also commissioned three amphibious transport dock ships: the USS New York (LPD 21), USS Arlington (LPD 24) and USS Somerset (LPD 25). All three ships have spaces onboard which pay tribute to the lives lost at each location for which they are named. The USS New York used salvaged steel from the World Trade Center in its construction.

    After my time with the ceremonial guard, I transferred to the Arlington. The tribute room on the ship includes the history of the attacks. It reminds Sailors why they serve and is a popular place to reenlist.

    The Global War on Terrorism that followed the attacks spanned four presidents and has had a lasting impression on Americans. This includes those Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen who were too young to remember yet still signed-up to serve their country in wartime. Some of them didn’t get to come back home alive.

    I’ve witnessed the dignified transfers of fallen Sailors coming home. I’ve seen the respect on the faces of those tasked with bringing them back onto U.S. soil to be prepared for burial. I’ve spoken with the ones tasked with trying to make them presentable , and I’ve listened to the heartache of those who’ve had to present the flag to the surviving family. Always stoic and professional during, but always difficult to bear after.

    September 11 has cost a lot for America, but it united the country in grief, patriotism and heroism. It will always be important to never forget.

    It was a real watershed moment in American history.

    If you were old enough to recognize the significance of the attacks, you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing the moment you found out about it. You probably spent hours, if not days, watching the news, hoping that your questions would be answered, mourning those who had perished and in awe of the heroes that emerged that day and in the following weeks.



    Date Taken: 09.11.2021
    Date Posted: 09.11.2021 01:39
    Story ID: 404965

    Web Views: 52
    Downloads: 0