Fort McCoy News September 26, 2014

NCOA Soldiers hold Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Thirteen years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, at the Pentagon in Virginia, and aboard United Flight 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field, Soldiers from the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA) paused to remember the victims of those attacks.

Photo for 9/11 article
Soldiers pause for a moment of reflection Sept. 11 during the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer Academy remembrance ceremony. Known nationally as Patriot Day and the National Day of Remembrance, Sept. 11, 2014, was the 13th anniversary of the attacks on America.

The Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony was held at the NCOA Auditorium. More than 100 Family members, Department of Defense civilians, and Soldiers attended. NCOA Instructor Sgt. 1st Class Edward Horner was the narrator. First Sgt. Reginald Jefferson of the NCOA gave opening remarks.

"Thirteen years ago, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts," Jefferson said.

"Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, and huge structures collapsing filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat, but they have failed. Our country is strong."

Jefferson asked all in attendance to never forget what happened, to remember those who were lost, and to remember their Families.

"This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace," Jefferson said. "America has stood down enemies before, and we will continue to do so. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world."

On the auditorium's big screen, a pair of videos and a photo slideshow displayed images of the aftermath on Sept. 11, 2001.

During the photo slideshow, Horner read excerpts of the last conversations some Sept. 11 victims had before they died with their loved ones. He also asked the audience, "Where were you that day?"

Photo for 9/11 article
Soldiers pause for a moment of reflection Sept. 11 during the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer Academy remembrance ceremony. Known nationally as Patriot Day and the National Day of Remembrance, Sept. 11, 2014, was the 13th anniversary of the attacks on America.

He said many service members have served in fighting the war on terrorism since 2001. "From 2001 to present, more than two million service members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan serving proudly in many roles both in combat and in garrison," Horner said.

At the end of the ceremony, a moment of silence was held by all in the audience, then Jefferson had some final words.

"Thank you to all who came out to remember this day," Jefferson said. "We will continue to remember all who this event affected."

The NCOA ceremony echoed many that took place Armywide. The U.S. flag in front of building 100 flew at half-mast during the day. In a message to the Fort McCoy workforce, Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott reiterated the importance of remembering what happened in 2001.

"The unforgettable events of Sept. 11, 2001 united our nation with a resolve that our enemies believed had passed beyond our cultural capacity to embrace," Nott said. "Our just response to these actions cost our nation dearly, and current events indicate the cost will grow ever higher.

"I ask us all to take a brief moment to reflect on the events of that terrible day and what it has meant to our Families and our nation. I also want to thank you for all you do to contribute to our common defense."