“Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger.” – President George W. Bush
It was a Tuesday morning, 11 years ago today, when our great nation came under attack by a group of 19 Al-Qaeda members. The terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jets and killed thousands of Americans. They attempted to disrupt American freedoms by threatening our very security, but they were unsuccessful because America bounced back. Military members and American Patriots have been fighting back for more than 11 years now and they will continue to fight terrorism for years to come.
Today, more than 90 members of the 612th Air Communications Squadron remembered 9/11 victims by participating in a memorial march, stopping throughout the march during key moments in time to honor those who lost their lives. These key moments correlated with the timeline of significant events and earth-shattering moments of impact.
During the morning hours of Sept. 11, 2001, American Airlines flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were overtaken by terrorist.
At 8:46 a.m. Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower, killing everyone on-board and hundreds in the building. At 10:28 a.m., after burning for more than 102 minutes, the building collapsed killing more than 1,400 men, women and children.
“Today, we reflect upon that day’s events and especially about those whose sacrifices and bravery shaped one of our nation’s most defining moments,” said Maj. Jon Paskewitz, 612th ACOMS member.
At 9:03 a.m. hijackers aboard Flight 175 crashed into the World Trade Center’s South Tower, killing all passengers aboard the aircraft and hundreds more inside the building.
“I literally thought for a moment (as we tried to open the door and all you could feel was the heat of the fire) ‘oh gosh, I am going to have to jump’ because I wasn’t going to wait for the firemen … I was going to have to do what I just saw people doing.”
– Florence Jones, South Tower, 77th floor
The building burnt for approximately 56 minutes and then collapsed at 9:59 a.m., killing thousands of workers and first responders.
“Today, we remember the innocent victims who lost their lives at the hands of terrorist and vow to never forget them,” said Senior Master Sgt. Paul Pohnert, 612th ACOMS member.
At 9:37 a.m. terrorists crashed the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 into America’s symbol of military power (the Pentagon), killing 59 passengers along with 125 brave men and women charged with securing America’s freedom.
“Today, we remember the brave Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and civilians at the Pentagon who lost their lives to cowardly terrorists,” said Col. Richard Palmieri, 612th ACOMS commander.
The last flight, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a Pennsylvania field at 10:03 a.m. after passengers aboard overtook the terrorists and foiled their plan of crashing the hijacked plane into the United States Capitol Building. The passengers aboard this flight were most likely notified by family and friends of the impending terrorist plot that would ultimately seal their fate.
“Mark, this is your mom … the news is that it’s been hijacked by terrorist. They are planning to probably use the plane as a target to hit some site on the ground. If you possibly can, try to overpower these guys because they’re hell bent.”
– Alice Hoagland, mother of Flight 93 hero, Mark Bingham
Ms. Hoagland never heard her son’s voice again.
Today we’re here not just as military members but as Americans remembering this tragic day, said Palmieri.
More than 3,000 people were killed during these senseless attacks on U.S. soil. Their memories and their bravery will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of every American.
“It was my honor today to be able to walk these roads to pay tribute to those who lost their lives, those who are serving in the military today and those who have previously served to protect the freedoms we share today,” said Airman 1st Class Christopher Brazelton, 612th ACOMS member and event coordinator.