- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: ‘Get yourself some firearms’
At Pentagon, smiles mix with tears for 9/11 victims
Question of the Day
The ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon began long before the more than 1,000 survivors, family members and others would arrive, when organizers in the early dawn unfurled a U.S. flag next to the spot where the hijacked plane hit the building.
“Lives ended in this place, dreams were shattered, futures were instantly altered and hopes tragically dashed,” said Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, standing a short distance from where a decade ago a flag hung next to the gaping, charred hole left by American Airlines Flight 77. Terrorists “could bring down our walls but they could not bring down America.”
The ceremony began at 9:30 a.m. with a flag presentation, the singing of the national anthem and a prayer, then a moment of silence at 9:37 a.m. — the exact time the hijacked plane hit the southwestern facade of the Pentagon, killing 184 people.
The only sounds heard were the quiet clicks of camera shutters and the distant rumble of a departing airplane.
The warm, late-summer morning was full of tears, embraces and proud smiles for the roughly 1,350 family members, friends and survivors who gathered beside the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“This lets families know that those lives were of value, whether they were on the plane or in the building,” said Shirley Winston, a Florida visitor who was wearing a T-shirt with a photograph of her sister-in-law and Pentagon attack victim Angelene C. Carter.
Other guests also wore items to honor a loved one lost in the smoke and fire, including red-white-and-blue ribbons and pins bearing photographs of the deceased.
Dressed in a sleeveless black sheath, Lisa Dolan wore her husband Capt. Robert E. Dolan Jr.’s C lass of 1981 Naval Academy ring around her neck, the only item found that belonged to the father of two.
Mrs. Dolan said she comes to the memorial every year and that this year’s ceremony of placing a wreath on each victim’s memorial bench brought special meaning.
“Everyone has a family and a special story to tell,” she said.
Mrs. Dolan also said that keeping the memories alive is important for children too young to know about the tragic day.
Adm. Mullen was joined by Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, who each talked about the importance of remembering those who gave their lives and about the men and women inspired to join the military after the attacks.
“It’s hard to come back,” Mr. Biden said. “My prayer for you 10 years later is that when you think of them, it brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. … Your presence gives hope to thousands of Americans trying to come to grips with this. Three thousand lives lost … inspired 3 million to put on a uniform.”
President Obama attended morning ceremonies in New York where two other hijacked planes hit the twin World Trade Center towers, killing nearly 3,000 people. He was scheduled to attend an event Sunday night at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
Mr. Panetta asked those at the Pentagon to recall 10 years ago, when people were scrambling to safety or rescuing the wounded.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Louisiana ruling sparks debate over confessions to priests
- Higher Ground: George Clooney nails Mail
- Pope Francis to sex abuse victims: I beg your forgiveness
- Religious freedom cases to fill Supreme Court docket
- Higher Ground: Christian men largely believe in the spirit of sports
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Democrats reveal an identity crisis by pretending to be what they're not
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- PRUDEN: 'Dirty Harry' Reids increasing eccentricity
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: 'We cannot afford to wait on Congress' for immigration
- TRACCI: Six steps to end the border crisis
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: 'Get yourself some firearms'
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- Hamas orders civilians to die in Israeli airstrikes
- Bush fixed bowling lanes that Obama wants to renovate
- Obama seeks brisk passage of border children funding bill
- Google Glass-equipped rifles can fire around corners: It's 'mind-blowing when you actually do it'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs