MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Military installations throughout the world lowered their flags to half staff and observed a moment of silence Sept. 11 in remembrance of the approximate 3,000 lives lost nine years ago in New York, the Pentagon, and the fields of Pennsylvania.
A memorial service was held for the fallen aboard the Combat Center at the Protestant Chapel Sept. 10.
In 2001, four planes were hijacked by terrorists; two crashed into the World Trade Center in N.Y., killing thousands. Another crashed into the Pentagon and killed several more. The fourth plane, which many suspected was targeting the White House or the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., failed to reach the target. Passengers and crew aboard United Airlines Flight 93 fought back and crashed the plane in a Pennsylvania field, inevitably saving thousands of lives at the price of their own.
“This is a time for remembrance and prayer,” said Cmdr. Steven Unger, the command chaplain of the religious ministries department.
The service was brief but solemn. Unger gave a short account of what happened on 9/11, and a slide show of pictures from the day that followed.
There seemed to be no dry eye in the chapel as the audience watched the images of the horrific day and remembered the agony the nation endured nearly a decade ago.
“We should not forget the events that began this,” Unger said.
When the service ended, an eerie silence filled the room as the audience exited as if every heart was touched by the images they saw. There was no conversation or casual greetings to others, utter calm filled the air.
“This is why we fight,” said Sgt. Brady Bradberry, a Marine with Headquarters Battalion. “I was a freshman in high school when it happened. It fueled my fire.”
The military particularly should stop and reflect on the events of 2001 because they are a reminder of the responsibility it holds, said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Hester, the chaplain with the protestant chapel.
“It shows the value of the Marine Corps,” Hester said. “It is a part of who we are. It reminds us of why we are doing what we do.”
“We have a responsibility to protect,” Bradberry said. “We should never forget that.”