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Wing pauses, remembers 9-11 attacks 20 years later

A section of the 9/11 Memorial lists those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks in New York City. The memorial opened to the public on the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jeremy Bennett)

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- Today marks the 20th Anniversary since that calm September morning in 2001 when our country, our people and our way of life came under attack.

As we look back on those darkest of days, we remember the nearly 3,000 innocent lives that were taken far too soon. We look past the smoke, the flames and the rubble and remember that we witnessed the very best of America that day.

Hundreds of first responders and citizens worked feverishly to save those trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center towers. We recall the heroic passengers on Flight 93 who fought to retake their plane. We also remember the brave service members who battled smoke and flames to rescue those trapped inside the Pentagon.

Each anniversary carries its own meaning, its own significance. All of them remind us of what was lost and the responsibility that memory imposes on us.

While events of the past several weeks may bring a mixture of emotions for us, there is one thing I know about America’s presence in Afghanistan. The cowardly attacks that occurred in 2001 haven’t happened again in the past 20 years. It hasn’t happened because men and women like you took a stand.

The 919th Special Operations Wing has had a steady presence in Afghanistan and Iraq since a short time after America was attacked. This Wing responded swiftly and has continued to defend freedom by providing a unique capability for the Nation while sacrificing much to support an unprecedented number of deployments.

You answered the call repeatedly despite the hardship and sacrifice required to defend the Nation against those who would seek to do us harm. For that, history will remember you fondly as part of the next great generation of service members who fought and succeeded in keeping America safe for 20 years after 9-11.

Let us use the Anniversary to reconnect and remember the day that changed us all forever. In doing so, please keep an eye on each other and have the courage to ask for help if you find yourself struggling in the days ahead. We have resources and people here who can assist.

Thank you for what you do and how you do it. I am extremely proud to serve alongside you.

LOCO

Col. Jason "LOCO" Grandy