In the news...

September 11, 2012

Panetta, at Pentagon Memorial, praises America’s strength

Tags:
Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta delivers remarks during a ceremony to recognize the Pentagon’s 9/11 employees at the Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2012.

President Barack Obama, commander in chief of the nation’s armed forces, led a remembrance ceremony today at the Pentagon Memorial, 11 years to the day since terrorists crashed passenger jets into the western side of the U.S. defense headquarters, the top stories of the World Trade Center’s towers in New York, and the soil of a field near Shanksville, Pa., killing a total of 2,996 people.

First Lady Michelle Obama, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey and the chairman’s wife, Deanie Dempsey, accompanied the president as he placed a wreath at the memorial.

All bowed their heads, then Dempsey saluted and the rest placed their right hands over their hearts as a Navy bugler sent the sad, slow notes of “Taps” floating through the clear, cool September air.

Then, at 9:37, the exact time in 2001 that American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon’s western faÁade, the ceremony’s announcer asked for a moment of silence in memory of the 184 people – ages 3 to 71 – who died here that day.

Panetta told the crowd, which included friends and families of the 9/11 victims as well as past and current Pentagon employees, that that day forever changed 21st-century America.

The 9/11 attacks, he said, targeted “the symbols of American strength – our economy and our commerce, our military might and our democracy – and took the lives of citizens from more than 90 countries. It was the worst terrorist attack on America in our history.”

Those who died — here, in lower Manhattan or in a Pennsylvania field – whether they were passengers on one of the four planes, workers in the struck buildings or rescue workers, are “heroes forever,” the secretary said.

Panetta told the audience about his visit Sept. 10 to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville. “I was reminded of those horrible moments after the hijacking when the passengers and crew were able to make frantic calls to speak to their loved ones for the last time,” he said. “They knew what was at stake, and yet they decided to fight back. Together, they took swift and decisive action to stop yet another attack targeted at the nation’s capital.”

The action those passengers took that day, the secretary said, is one end of a chain that links them, their survivors, the nation’s citizens, and the service members who since that day have stepped up to protect freedom and deny terrorism a safe haven.

“Out of the shock and sadness of 9/11 came a new sense of unity and resolve that this would not happen again. … In trying to attack our strengths, the terrorists unleashed our greatest strength: the spirit and the will of Americans to fight for their country,” Panetta said.

Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader who orchestrated the terror, flames and death 9/11, died last year at the hands of American special operations forces. Al Qaeda is still a threat, the secretary said, “but we’ve dealt them a heavy blow, and we will continue to fight them – in Yemen, in Somalia, in North Africa, wherever they go – to make sure they have no place to hide.”

Sept. 11 is now, in America, a day of solemn remembrance, he said.

“Let us renew a solemn pledge to those who died on 9/11 and their families,” the secretary said. “It is a pledge we also make to all of those who put their lives on the line and who paid a heavy price for the last 11 years of war. Our pledge is to keep fighting for a safer and stronger future.”

Our pledge, he continued, is to ensure that America always remains a government of, by and for the people.

“That pledge, that legacy, makes clear that no one – no one – who died on that terrible day 11 years ago died in vain,” Panetta said. “They died for a stronger America.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines January 23, 2015

News: Yemen chaos threatens U.S. counterterror efforts, including drone program - The White House’s strategy for fighting al-Qaeda in Yemen – repeatedly presented as a model by President Obama – was left in tatters Thursday by the resignation of the man who personally approved U.S. drone strikes in the country and the collapse of its central...
 
 

News Briefs January 23, 2015

NATO detects key Russian military equipment in east Ukraine NATO’s top commander in Europe says the alliance has detected the presence of key Russian military equipment in eastern Ukraine that, in the past, has accompanied large inflows of Russian troops. Gen. Philip Breedlove told a news conference Jan. 22 in Brussels that Russian electronic warfare...
 
 
Boeing photograph

Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft ready for demonstration flights

Boeing photograph The Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft program is ready for customer demonstration flights, having completed the baseline ground and flight testing of the aircraft mission systems. The Boeing Maritime Surve...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Jacqueline Cowan

F135 test demonstrates success of AEDC workshare initiative

Air Force photograph by Jacqueline Cowan Aerospace Testing Alliance Test Engineer Darren Carroll, pictured in front, assists as Pratt & Whitney Test Engineer Ronnie Thomas does a borescope inspection of the fan on the F135 ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald

40 years of Red Flag at Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald A flight of F-15 Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons Aggressors fly in formation over the Nevada Test and Training Ranges June 5, 2008. The proposal for Red Flag came in early...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Navy gears up to order production of 29 aircraft diagnostic systems

Lockheed Martin photograph Petty Officers Third Class Ira Schwartz assigned to Fleet Readiness Center Southeast at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., left, and Devin Riley from Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic at Naval Ai...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>