Never Forget—9/11

September 10th, 2015 | Commentary, News
 Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr.

Dear West Point community,

For all of us, the events of Sept. 11, 2001 will forever live in our memories.

We’ll never forget the images of planes flying into the World Trade Center or the smoke rising from the Pentagon.

We’ll never forget the courage and compassion of the New York City firemen and other men and women racing into burning buildings to save the innocent or those heroes who died in a Pennsylvania field.

Nor will we forget the images and memories of what took place after those horrific attacks.

We’ll never forget the image of a boy leaving flowers outside the American Embassy in Moscow or the candlelight vigils held in India and Bangladesh.

We’ll never forget the image of members of Congress joining hands on the steps of the Capitol and singing “God Bless America.”

We’ll never forget the thousands of Germans who marched at Brandenburg Gate, the 100,000 Canadians who gathered in Ottawa, or the Jordanian women who gathered to pray—all sharing in our sorrow.

We will also never forget the heroic acts of many. On that day, 14 years ago, we saw ordinary people do extraordinary things.

We saw ordinary people choose duty in the face of death, as the security guards in the Trade Center continued to help people out even as the buildings were collapsing around them. We saw loyalty to friends overwhelm all sense of danger, as the New York City firefighters searched tirelessly for their own.

We saw ordinary people choose self-sacrifice for the good of strangers, as the passengers on the plane over Pennsylvania refused to allow the hijackers to succeed.

We saw ordinary people choosing to spend their final moments expressing their love to their families.

We will also never forget the legacy of that September day, which lies in the worldwide embrace of freedom that followed. Today, millions of people from nations around the world stand united behind one ideal—that the destructive agendas of radical extremists shall never eclipse the light of liberty.

We will never forget that from these events rose a new, proud generation, that saw their nation attacked, internalized the fact that our very way of life is now threatened because of this, and volunteered to step forward and stand in the gap between the American people and any evil that would threaten them.

We will never forget our fallen fellow Americans of 9/11, as well as our fallen colleagues and comrades in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 14 years, or the families, friends and loved ones they left behind.

Tomorrow at 8:46 a.m., I invite you to join us at Trophy Point for a remembrance ceremony, as we join together as a community to remember the events of that day and to honor those who lost their lives in the attacks.

As we reflect on that day, please take a moment to remember our brothers and sisters in harm’s way today, as well as all of our first responders—all of whom continue to stand in that gap to protect us and our way of life.

We will never forget.

Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr.