2018-09-14 / Front Page

FORT GORDON REMEMBERS 9/11

Sept. 11, 2001: A day ‘seared into memory’
Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Soldiers and firemen at Barton Field’s reviewing stands prepare to step off to begin a 48-hour ruck march in remembrance of the atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Soldiers and firemen at Barton Field’s reviewing stands prepare to step off to begin a 48-hour ruck march in remembrance of the atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Members of the Fort Gordon community gathered at the Signal Tower flagpole to pay their respects to nearly 3,000 people who perished on Sept. 11, 2001.

A total 2,977 people were killed in terrorist attacks when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and United Flight 175 struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York; American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a fourth plane – United Airlines Flight 93 – crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers steered the plane’s hijacker away from its intended target in Washington, D.C.

It was the single largest loss of life from a foreign attack on U.S. soil.


Servicemen and emergency responders alike are on hand as silent participants in the annual September 11 memorial event, recalling the terrorist attacks of that particular day in 2001 in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Servicemen and emergency responders alike are on hand as silent participants in the annual September 11 memorial event, recalling the terrorist attacks of that particular day in 2001 in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office The remembrance ceremony started off with a formation of Soldiers, Airmen, and Marines who had completed a 48-hour ruck march minutes prior to the ceremony. Nineteen teams of three rucked 10 miles each while carrying a 20 to 40-pound ruck and M-4 Carbine dummy weapon. The march was intended to pay respect to lives lost during 9/11 while recognizing emergency and military personnel impacted by that day.

Gathered around the base of the flagpole, the formation was joined by a color guard comprised of first responders, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines gathered at the base of the flagpole. A cannon team fired its first cannon at 8:46 a.m., signifying the first strike on the World Trade Center. As emergency sirens sounded from a distance, the color guard lowered the American flag to half-staff. About 30 seconds later, a lone bugler played Taps and was followed by a moment of silence.


Soldiers make their way through the first leg of a 48-hour ruck march in memory of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The event began Sunday morning at Barton Field’s reviewing stands and is to conclude Tuesday morning near the Signal Towers flagpole. Leading the way in this scene is Staff Sgt. Ruben Estrada, 369th Signal Battalion. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Soldiers make their way through the first leg of a 48-hour ruck march in memory of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The event began Sunday morning at Barton Field’s reviewing stands and is to conclude Tuesday morning near the Signal Towers flagpole. Leading the way in this scene is Staff Sgt. Ruben Estrada, 369th Signal Battalion. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Col. Richard Garvey, Fort Gordon Garrison command chaplain, broke the silence with a prayer, and was followed by Col. Jim Clifford, Fort Gordon Garrison commander.

Reflecting on 9/11, Clifford said the day had become “seared into our nation’s memory.”

“Nineteen Al-Qaida operatives launched an almost unimaginable assault on our country’s symbols of economic and military power by using commercial airlines as weapons against intended targets in New York and Washington, D.C.,” said Clifford. “Sept. 11th is a day that will live on in our memories forever, and we will never forget this tragic loss.”

It was a day in which the world was changed for most people; especially military personnel, as many of them answered the call to duty in one of the nation’s darkest times.

“The first bombs fell on Afghanistan 26 days after 9/11,” Clifford said. “With the support of signal, intelligence assets, and ground forces following shortly behind, we were able to project our nation’s might on those who perpetrated this horrific attack.”

Quoting the late Pres. John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, Clifford said the U.S. would “pay any price, bear any burden, [and] meet any hardship ... to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Seventeen years later, the U.S. has confirmed Kennedy’s commitment.

“From the caves of Afghanistan to the Sunni Triangle in Iraq, the plains of Syria, the deserts of Yemen, Somalia, North Africa, and wherever our fight takes us, our nation has pursued enemies,” Clifford said. “We could not have done this without the tireless commitment of our coalition partners, several of whom are here today representing the numerous allies answering the call.”

In closing, Clifford said Americans should be optimistic about the future, citing the progress this country has made since events of 9/11.

“Americans will continue to rebuild – it’s in our fabric, and it’s who we are as a people,” Clifford said. “Reflect on our past and remember our fallen, but honor them by moving forward as one country indivisible.”

Following the ceremony, subsequent cannon blasts were fired at 9:03 a.m., 9:37 a.m., and 10:03 a.m. marking each moment of impact when planes struck.

They were moments that led Sgt. Maj. Joseph Legget, U.S. Army Signal School, to continue his military service.

A New York native, Legget had just arrived from Korea to his new duty station in Alaska when he watched the tragedy unfold on TV. Legget remembers thinking it was a movie at first, but as emotions rose and panic set in around him, reality sank in. With seven years on active duty at the time and an option to end his service, Legget chose to re-enlist.

“It triggered a lot of things ... every year when Sept. 11 comes around, we reflect on the events that happened, and I think of how everything spiraled from there,” Legget said. “We want to pay homage to those whose lives were lost and all of the families.”

Return to top