First responders placed a wreath at the “Lest We Forget” monument outside Clark Hall as Fort Drum community members joined fire and law enforcement personnel Sept. 10 for the annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
First responders, Fort Drum community members gather for annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Sept. 10, 2021) – First responders placed a wreath at the “Lest We Forget” monument outside Clark Hall as Fort Drum community members joined fire and law enforcement personnel Sept. 10 for the annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony.
“We stand here today to pay tribute to the sacrifice, the heroism and the contributions made by so many on 9/11,” said Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander. “In the last 20 years we have witnessed remarkable feats of bravery, starting with the initial first responders fighting to save the lives of the innocent, to the law enforcement and intelligence communities hunting down those intending to do continued harm.”
Beagle also acknowledged members of the armed forces who put themselves in harm’s way for a common cause.
“In contrast to earlier conflicts, the 9/11 generation is all volunteers who chose to serve during a time of war,” he said. “Just as Pearl Harbor, in World War II, defined a generation destined for greatness, so has the events of Sept. 11 shaped our destiny. Since 2001, your Army has adapted to a changing and volatile world. Twenty years of continuous operations, that ended a week ago, has proven that the current generation of service members are cut from the same cloth as their forefathers.”
Earlier in the morning, more than 500 Fort Drum Soldiers and family members gathered outside Magrath Sports Complex for a 9/11 Memorial 5K Run.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Tom McCort, Fort Drum garrison chaplain, spoke with runners at the starting line, and he asked how many remember where they were and what they were doing on Sept. 11, 2001.
McCort said he was serving as a battalion chaplain at Fort Knox, Kentucky, when he heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. He thought it was some kind of show at first, like the radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds.”
“I thought it wasn’t real,” he said. “I went into my boss’s office and saw the planes hit the towers on TV, and there was silence in the room. We had no way to understand what was happening.”
McCort said that emotions ran the gamut – shock, anger, fear and confusion – and there was a general feeling of not knowing what would happen next.
“I remember inside of the battalion that six of our Soldiers had family members who were directly impacted that day, whether in the towers or on the plane,” he said. “It was shocking to hear that. But I do remember something good did come out of that. In that moment, we were unified – as an Army and as a country.”
McCort said that people find many reasons to be divisive, but the events on 9/11 brought people together in a profound way.
“We were all going to come together, and you felt that across the nation,” he said. “If there is something good we can take out of something bad, it is that. We are still one people, we are still one Army, and we are still one nation. I have your back, and you have my back. We look out for each other and take care of each other.”
More than 500 runners gathered outside Magrath Sports Complex on Sept. 10 to participate in the 9/11 Memorial 5K Run. A finisher’s medal was designed for the event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)