Joint Base Lewis-McChord marked the 11th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history with solemn observations dedicated to the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
The theme of the day at JBLM echoed sentiments voiced across the country that encouraged Americans to remember the past, but also to celebrate the unity the nation found in crisis.
A remembrance ceremony at Madigan Healthcare System included fourth- and fifth-grade guests from JBLMs Evergreen Elementary School, who Madigan commander Col. Dallas Homas said embodied Americas future. The ceremony culminated in a somber walk around the Madigan pond, led by the students.
The fact is that 9/11 changed so much for so many of us, but that change was actually for the better, Madigan Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Brady said. Its brought us closer together and its made us a stronger nation.
Four Chaplains Memorial Chapel held a candlelighting ceremony which included personal prayer and meditation time. On the podium in the front of the sanctuary, two candles, symbolizing the World Trade Center twin towers, remained lit for the duration of the day.
It seems that the light was snuffed out and dark clouds followed. There were lives that were shattered that day, Chaplain (Col.) Bart Physioc said. But the light shines brightly here today.
While looking toward the future was the theme throughout the day, the weight of 9/11 is still prevalent on JBLM and all military installations. Eleven years later, service members still deploy in support of the war in Afghanistan that began soon after 9/11. In his closing prayer, Physioc remembered those serving overseas.
Those are not forgotten who died that day, as those who have lost their lives in the 11 years since should not be forgotten, Physioc said. Be with those that experience the effects of that day, especially those that continue to be engaged in the fight against terror. Let us not forget.
Specialist Jamie Hickman, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 702nd Brigade Support Battalion in 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, a civilian at the time of the terrorist attack, said it was the events of 9/11 that made her want to join the military. Her 25-year-old daughter, who was only 14 in 2001, serves in the Army also.
Im so much more appreciative of my freedom. A lot of us take it for granted, but it really means something, Hickman said.
Events of the day also included a moment of silence at all JBLM fire stations at 5:46 a.m. Pacific Standard Time 8:46 Eastern Standard Time the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center North Tower. At guard mounts across the installation, a moment of silence was observed at three separate times during the day. JBLM Directorate of Emergency Services personnel wore black shrouds over their badges.
At Fire Station 101 near the DuPont Gate, JBLM firefighters raised an American flag to pay tribute to first responders who died that day.
It was just a quiet moment for everybody, Fire Chief Dean Dixon said. Thats how we thought we would honor (the anniversary) this year.