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 August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India – French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year – In line with the Pentagon’s...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 
LM-MUOS

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>