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 July 25, 2014

News: VA reform bills stalled by partisan bickering - Plans for a comprehensive Veterans Affairs Department reform bill that appeared all but finished a month ago devolved into partisan bickering and funding fights July 24, casting doubt on the future of a deal.   Business: Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed announce bids on Danish fighter competition; Saab withdraws -...
 
 

News Briefs July 25, 2014

Marines investigate corporal who vanished in Iraq U.S. Marine Corp officers are launching a formal investigation into whether a Lebanese-American Marine deserted his unit in Iraq or later after returning to the United States. A spokesman for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune said July 24 that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun is being...
 
 

Headlines July 23, 2014

News: Israel’s Iron Dome defense in line for tripled U.S. spending - Israel’s iron Dome missile defense system may end up getting triple the U.S. funding that the Defense Department sought for it in March. Ukraine asked U.S. for systems to counter Russian missiles - A month before the United States says a Russian missile likely brought...
 

 

News Briefs July 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,194 As of July 22, 2014, at least 2,194 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is three less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 

Headlines July 21, 2014

News: IDF releases Iron Dome interception rate - Israel’s Iron Dome system has successfully intercepted 86 percent of the Palestinian rockets that it has engaged during Operation ‘Protective Edge’, according to the Israel Defense Forces.   Business: The turnaround of France’s defense giant Thales - Within seconds of meeting Jean-Bernard Levy it becomes apparent that h...
 
 

News Briefs July 21, 2014

Corruption investigated in Kansas National Guard The Kansas Adjutant General’s office says federal authorities are investigating possible corruption involving outside medical companies’ contracts with the Kansas Army National Guard. Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the adjutant general’s office, confirmed the investigation Friday to The Lawrence Journal-World but declined to rel...
 




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>