The 184 people who were killed during the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on a day like today, but 22 years ago, are remembered before the anniversary of an event that hit the United States and the world. Among those gathered in the grounds of the American institution are close friends, family members or co-workers of those killed in the terrorist act.
Friday’s event began with a solemn performance by the US Army Brass Quintet. The emotional work shows that the scars of the attack remain. Chaplain John Goodloe of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington gave the invocation.
“Our land is in great need, oh God,” he prayed, stressing the importance of diversity and interfaith tolerance.
1-On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and turned them into precision missiles. The first plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Sixteen minutes later, the second plane hit the South Tower. Manhattanites left their cars and watched the disaster unfold 110 floors above.
The third plane crashed into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Department of Defense in Arlington, Virginia. The last plane was likely destined for the Capitol, but crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers unsuccessfully tried to wrest control of the cockpit from the terrorists.
Almost 3,000 people from 93 countries died that day. It is considered the worst attack on American soil since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The Pentagon building has been restored and New York has a new World Trade Center, but the scars remain.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks gave a speech Friday remembering the victims.
“As someone who vividly remembers the course of my own steps here in the Pentagon that day … I can tell you: sharing these personal reflections remains difficult,” Hicks told the audience.
He also highlighted the heroism of his colleagues and recalled that the doors of the Pentagon were reopened the day after the fires were extinguished. The collapsed corner of the building where the plane crashed has been cordoned off and work continues.
Hicks instead calls on adults to continue an intergenerational dialogue. Young Americans, he said, should be taught to appreciate how the events of 9/11 changed the world around them, even if they were “too young (to remember) or not yet born. ”
“You are not alone,” he told an audience of survivors’ family members, first responders and fellow survivors. “We have not forgotten you or those we lost. And we never will. Thank you.”
This Monday there will be a private celebration at the Pentagon Memorial for the loved ones of those who died in 2001. Friday’s ceremony will be open to the public.
President Joe Biden will pay his respects at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday, a stop on his way back from the G20 summit in India and a diplomatic meeting in Hanoi.