Joint Base Andrews hosted a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at Heritage Park here to honor the victims and first responders of the terrorist attacks on America 19 years ago today.
Terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes departing from East Coast airports on Sept. 11, 2001, and crashed them into the twin towers of New York City’s iconic World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Shanksville, Pa. field, killing 2, 977 people. These attacks were the deadliest on U.S. soil since the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.
“It was such a tragic incident and affected so many people; everything shifted all over the world,” said Master Sgt. Stephanie Pecovsky, NCO in charge of anti-terrorism, 316th Security Forces Group. “That’s why I think it’s so significant to honor those connected with September 11th.”
More than 100 military members, base personnel and residents in the Washington, D.C. metro area attended the ceremony, which included a collective moment of silence, remarks of recognition by Col. Tyler R. Schaff, 316th Wing and JBA commander along with Brig Gen. Thomas Palenske, military assistant to the secretary of the Air Force at the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, and concluded with taps, a bugle call, to honorably end the event. Attendees then saw a flyover by the 1st Helicopter Squadron, which honored the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.
“We come together each year on September 11th, with heavy hearts and renewed anger that we were attacked on our soil, the United States of America, by terrorists’ intent of destroying our ideals,” said Schaff. “Let us never forget.”
After Schaff spoke, Palenske spoke at the podium about his personal experience of working at the Pentagon when it was hit on Sept. 11, 2001. His story of trying to help solidified why it’s important to remember this tragic event.