Washington, DC – At 9:37 a.m., everyone at the Pentagon observed a moment of silence in remembrance of the 184 lives lost 20 years ago when terrorists flew a commercial airliner into the west side of the Pentagon.
The legacy of those who were killed in the terror attack on the Pentagon lives on in the idea that is America, and no terrorists can ever destroy that idea, said General Mark A. Milley, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, at an observance ceremony at the Pentagon this morning.
Addressing an audience that included family members of those lost that day, the chairman said, “The people we lost that day are not just names or numbers. We remember them today for not only who they were but for what they could have become.”
“All of the values and principles embedded in our Constitution and made real in our daily lives were paid for with the blood of the fallen on this place at 9:37 on September 11th, 2001.” Enemies of the US – the fascists, the Nazis, the communists, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban, authoritarians, dictators, and tyrants – hate those values and ideas, and “on 9/11, they tried to destroy us. They tried to divide us, they tried ultimately in vain to terrify us,” said the chairman. “But their murderous intent was never realized. Instead of sowing fear and division, we gathered in New York and Pennsylvania and right here at the Pentagon. And we came together as a Nation with acts of heroism, unity and perseverance, many conducted by you in the audience today.”
“As the years march on, we must ensure that all our fellow Americans know and understand what happened here on 9/11, and in Manhattan, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III.
The secretary added that it is our responsibility to remember, and our duty to defend our democracy. “We do know that America will always lead. And we do know the only compass that can guide us through the storms ahead. It’s our core values and the principles enshrined in our Constitution. Liberty. Rights. The rule of law. And a fierce commitment to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
“We must be tireless guardians of our ideals, as well as our security. Because we cannot have one without the other,” said the secretary.
During the ceremony, service members read the names of each person killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and rang a ceremonial bell for each name to mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks at the Pentagon.