By Ben Rogers, Fort Meade Public Affairs Office
Team Meade comes together to reflect on lessons of 9/11
FORT GEORGE G MEADE, Md. – Service members, first responders, garrison personnel and community leaders gathered on the Fort Meade parade field on Friday, September 10, 2021, for a remembrance ceremony that marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks.
It was a warm sunny morning with a just enough wind in the air to make the American flag hanging off Fort Meade’s Ladder Truck 45 wave strongly and remind the nearly 100 guests of the strength and resilience our nation holds.
Col. Christopher Nyland, Fort Meade’s garrison commander, was the event’s host and remarked how 9/11 had shaped many careers, including his own.
“It was the first responders’ job in the beginning, then the military took over in a campaign to fight against terrorism,” Nyland said, in reference to the 20 year war in Afghanistan. “On America’s worst days, the real stories are about the people,” Nyland said. “The heroism that emerges as our fellow Americans come forward and risk and sacrifice for those around them. Ordinary Americans who demonstrate extraordinary courage. Today is about remembering them.”
Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman also provided remarks as they stood in front of the flags of all 50 states along with the Fort Meade Department of Emergency Services arsenal of emergency vehicles.
The event’s keynote speaker, Joseph Wassel, executive for cyberspace operations, Defense Information System Agency (DISA), was serving at the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.
“I’ll never forget the heat coming from that fireball as a result from the plane crashing into the Pentagon,” said Wassel, who was working as a senior communicator for then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Reflecting on the years that had passed, Wassel recognized the young Marines in the crowd, stating, “They weren’t even born yet” and that some soldiers who were in service then are retired now. Wassel emphasized the importance of re-dedicating ourselves to the mission and share the story of our past so that the lessons learned are not forgotten.
After Wassel’s remarks, a member of the Fort Meade Fire Department rang the Final Alarm, a series of chimes that serve as a long standing tradition fire fighters use to pay respect to the fallen.
The ceremony ended with the Montgomery County Firefighters Pipes and Drums rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.