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September 11th 2012

Clarksville, TN – Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Just over a decade ago, our country was changed in big and small ways that we are still feeling today. In the attacks 2,977 people were killed and more than 6,000 were injured after 19 hijackers flew two jetliners into the World Trade Center buildings, another smashed into the Pentagon; with the last being crashed into the ground in Pennsylvania after the passengers attempted to take back control of the aircraft.

Immediately after the attacks the world held its breath as it waited to see where the vengeance of America would fall, American soldiers reported in immediately, some would be immediately boarding aircraft’s to travel to foreign locations across the globe ready to assist in the strike against America’s enemies. Many civilians moved by the sight of the attacks rushed to recruiting centers to enlist in the military services

Clarksville Remembers 9/11
Clarksville Remembers 9/11

For a time the people of America were truly united. Parties and politics were put aside, our differences were forgotten. It’s sad that the state of unity could not have been kept, for when we are united this country can never be defeated. Sadly, it is in the interest of various political factions who seek to control our country to divide the people into blocs of red and blue.

For the soldiers of Fort Campbell and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the terrorist attacks would launch a decade of war, first in Afghanistan, then Iraq. While we are no longer fighting in Iraq. The war in Afghanistan and on various fronts all across the globe are still ongoing. Many of the soldiers serving have seen multiple deployments, some have been on four or five deployments.

Their Commander Maj. Gen. James C McConville said, “Today we paused to conduct a memorial ceremony for the 2977 victims from our generations “day that will live in infamy” and today we celebrate their lives as much as we honor their deaths from the attacks not only on our sovereign soil but against our fellow citizens.”

Fort Campbell's 9-11 Memorial Ceremony
Fort Campbell’s 9-11 Memorial Ceremony
Maj. Gen. James C. McConville
Maj. Gen. James C. McConville

McConville released a statement on Army.mil

Three years ago the President proclaimed September 11th as Patriot Day. As I personally reflect on the attacks of September 11th, I want to remember all the Patriots who lost their lives to terrorists.

Eleven years ago, through the ashes of a heart wrenching attack on American soil grew a bond across the United States that strengthened the American resolve. Today we honor the victims of that fatal attack on our Nation.

This anniversary, just over a decade later, a day in September, is a chance to appreciate how far we’ve come as a military and it is also a reminder that there is still difficult work ahead of us especially as we begin to transition the Afghan National Security Forces. Our discipline and our training will continue to secure our liberties and freedoms that as Americans we have a right to enjoy.

Patriot Day is a day where we honor the innocent lives that ended too soon that bright September morning. The effects of that day still ring fresh in the minds of those left behind.

Today, I want us to reflect on those Patriots who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this Nation: the heroes that served this country with pride – whether fellow service members, first responders or civilians- the heroes that lost their lives just over a decade ago.

We are called upon as Americans and service members to join in honoring the lives that were lost, the heroes who responded in our Nation’s hours of need, and the brave men and women in uniform who continue to protect our country at home and abroad.

Patriot Day is our Nation’s way of remembering the victims of the September 11th attacks and to remind us the heavy sacrifices that were made. This is a day for us to pay tribute to our Nation’s fallen and to never forget our heroes and their sacrifices.

Even as we speak the soldiers at Fort Campbell are in preparations for yet another deployment.  The price these soldiers pay in time lost from their families can never be recovered. But they understand the importance of their mission more than most.

Clarksville Fire Chief Michael RobertsSpeaking at Clarksville's 9/11 Memorial Service
Clarksville Fire Chief Michael RobertsSpeaking at Clarksville’s 9/11 Memorial Service

In Clarksville, hundreds of people gathered at the Charles R. Jones Main Fire Station (802 Main Street) where representatives from the Clarksville Fire Rescue, Montgomery County EMS, Clarksville Police Department, Fort Campbell Fire Department, and the Hemlock Semiconductor Fire Department were on hand for our own remembrance of the 9/11 attacks, and recognizing those firefighters in Clarksville, who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty.

Even as far as we are from New York and Pennsylvania families in Clarksville were touched by the attacks. As I spoke to Cynthia Marsh who was putting on a display as part of the 9/11 serve to remember days of service campaign where she was recording the memories contributed by the people of Clarksville of the September 11th attacks to ensure that they are not forgotten. She had met four families from our area who had lost loved ones in the attacks.

Cynthia Marsh inking the Goldsmith press at the APSU Library on 9/11
Cynthia Marsh inking the Goldsmith press at the APSU Library on 9/11

Some of the memories she had set down included…

  • “Heart stopping disbelief”
  • “They shut all the tv’s off”
  • “My soldier husband called saying he was leaving, he didn’t know when he would come home”
  • “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God have mercy on us all”
  • “Work stopped! Everyone cried”
  • “I watched the second plane hit and knew that my childhood was over”
  • “Hi Jules, it’s Brian. Listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked”
  • “Cash only!”

Not one single person who was alive at that time has remained untouched. The memories are still sharp for the families who lost loved ones both in the attacks and since, the pain lingers raw, untouched by the passage of time. For those of us who have been lucky enough not to have lost anyone, we have still paid a price losing cherished rights and freedoms in the name of enhanced security as politicians panicked and passed into law measures that would not have been considered acceptable before the attacks. Eventually we will have to reverse the damage done to our collective liberty.

On this the 11th anniversary of the attacks two American embassies were overrun by the peoples of foreign lands, reminding us all that we must remain vigilant, and must continue to defend our nation around the world. We will continue to show the world our resolve to bring those who attack us to justice.  But we must also show the world our humanity, and yes even our humility. We must attack the socioeconomic roots which engender such a ferocity of emotion against our country.  When we travel abroad people will tell us they love Americans, but they hate America this is something that we have work to do in order to change.

The American people including our soldiers can be our best ambassadors, it is through our own actions we show the world the price of liberty, the necessity of justice, and the true meaning of the American way of life.

Photo Gallery

9/11 Memorial Service

Images of Clarksville’s 9/11 Memorial Service

Goldsmith Press Display

Images of the Goldsmith Press Display at the APSU Library

Bill Larson
Bill Larson
Bill Larson is  is politically and socially active in the community. Bill is a member of the Friends of Dunbar Cave. You can reach him via telephone at 931-249-0043 or via the email address below.

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