VIDEO| 9-11: Two Marines, two stories a generation apart

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Karis Mattingly, U.S. Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Faith Rose and Lance Cpl. Isaac Munce
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Karis Mattingly, U.S. Marine Corps motion imagery by Lance Cpl. Faith Rose and Lance Cpl. Isaac Munce

VIDEO| 9-11: Two Marines, two stories a generation apart

by Lance Cpl. Karis Mattingly
Marine Corps Installations Pacific

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- We sat down with two Marines, one born after the World Trade Center attacks, and the other prior to 9/11.

“I am 1st Sgt. Thomas Tabisz. I was born Aug. 31, 1979, and I am the 1st Sgt. with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. In 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked I was a lance corporal in the fleet."

“My name is Lance Cpl. Alexis Ann Briggs Moradian, and I am a graphics specialist with 3rd Marine Division, and I was born Jan. 1, 2002.”

On Sept. 11, 2001, at 8:45 a.m., American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

“I was in North Carolina at Camp Lejeune with the motor transport platoon,” said Tabisz explaining his memory of 9/11. “We were out in the motorpool working on vehicles when our gunnery sergeant, on the intercom, told us to form it up. None of us had any idea what was going on, and then all of a sudden he rolled out one of those old TVs.”

Eighteen minutes after the first plane hit, a second aircraft, American Airlines Flight 175, struck the South Tower.

“We were watching the live news coverage, and then the second plane hit,” said Tabisz. “We sat there for three or four, hours watching.”

“The room was silent.”

As a junior enlisted Marine, Moradian shares her unique story and first memory of learning about 9/11.

“I was not born yet when 9/11 occured,” said Moradian. “The first memory I have of 9/11 is when I was 12 years old, watching a news story in class. My sister also inspired me to learn more and do my own research on the tragedy because she is very patriotic and often spoke to me about the event to educate me.”

According to Moradian, she remembers eating with her family, when her mom explained that Osama bin Laden, who led the al-Qaeda organization responsible for the attacks on 9/11, was captured and killed during Operation Neptune Spear in Afghanistan.

“Everyone reacted and united together during the events of 9/11 and years after,” she said. “I hope that as we come up on Sept. 11, it reminds people that we cannot succeed when standing alone. Just as the country united following the attacks, we must work together to help the current state of the pandemic.”

Tabisz pauses for a moment to collect his thoughts as he shares the impact the attacks had on him.

“It really hit home and it was scary,” he said, with a solemn expression. “We didn’t have easily accessible cell phones, so we weren’t sure if our families were alright. I couldn't believe it, at that time being a young lance corporal, I didn't fully understand the situation or the significance. We were thinking it was a mechanical error, but then the planes just kept crashing...”

“The attacks on the World Trade Center enlightened a fire within me and every other Marine,” he continued. “I realized that the training that I was doing as a Marine was preparing me for what's to come, fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“What also helped to prepare me for Iraq and Afghanistan were my senior leaders sharing their experience during Desert Storm,” he said. “It is important to share our story because, you, the junior Marines are the future leaders of the Marine Corps.”

Moradian expresses the impact 9/11 has on her and why she is so driven as a Marine.

“As we come up on a day in remembrance of 9/11, it puts my role as a Marine into perspective,” said Moradian, explaining its significance. “We need to focus on unit readiness and work to prevent the past from repeating.”

Moradian share her mindset of how our nation came together in unity to overcome the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

“9/11 is a reminder to work together as a nation,” she said. “We cannot do anything alone, and that was proven through the policemen, firefighters, and civilians who selflessly reacted to the Twin Tower attacks during 9/11 to save one another.”

Tabisz concluded the interview with his insight on how, as a nation, we can join forces to stay safe and carry on strong, together.

“We need to keep that mental toughness and preparedness to ensure the goal of keeping our nation and the innocent people around the whole world, safe,” said Tabisz. “The nation came together in the time of tragedy and persevered. It is important to remember September 11th and the strength we had as a nation because it helps us now be stronger. We can remember who we are as Americans, our strength and support, and how to take care of one another.”

 

Photo Caption:

U.S. Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Thomas Tabisz, the 1st Sgt. with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific and Lance Cpl. Alexis Ann Briggs Moradian, a graphics specialist with 3rd Marine Division shared their differing stories on 9/11, Aug. 4, 2020, on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. On Sept. 11, 2001, at 8:45 a.m., American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Eighteen minutes after the first plane hit, a second aircraft, American Airlines Flight 175, struck the South Tower.

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Japan
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam

Base:

Recommended Content