Pentagon officials mark 9/11 attacks with family members, survivors
WASHINGTON – Beneath a bright blue September sky similar to the one 14 years earlier, Pentagon leaders Friday morning joined with family members of those who perished in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to honor their memories and pledge continued vigilance in the fight against terrorism.
“Terrorists who hope to intimidate us will find no satisfaction and no success in threatening the United States,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told those gathered at the Pentagon Memorial, a collection of trees and benches just southwest of the Pentagon dedicated to the 184 who died there. “Because not only do we come back, by living in honor of those we have lost, we come back stronger than before.”
Carter and Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made their way slowly through the large crowd to speak with those who survived the Sept. 11 terror attacks – many who helped pull others from the Pentagon rubble – and those whose loved ones died.
The airplane attacks that morning that killed nearly 3,000 people at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York and in a Pennsylvania field, spawned a generation of young American men and women whose lives would drastically change in its wake. For hundreds of thousands, Selva said, witnessing those murders moved them to vow “to put their lives on the line for the concepts of freedom and liberty that we hold dear.”
“Today offers all of us an opportunity to rededicate our lives to those causes,” he said.
Americans, Carter said, will continue to persevere in the face of evil.
“You have shown us how to persevere, how to move forward, how to memorialize those we have lost in what we make of our lives,” Carter told the private crowd at the Pentagon Memorial. “So today and all days, we honor and remember your loved ones. Because of the example you have set for each of us, for our American family, you have our deepest admiration and appreciation.
“Within this community, we will never forget. We will always remember. We will continue to honor the memory of those you have lost with the work we accomplish together.”