DAHLGREN, Va. –
Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon 20 years ago, the phrase “Never Forget” synonymously represents the overarching pain, suffering and commonality of the 9/11 attacks. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives during the terror attack, with hundreds more attributed to resulting illnesses. Yet among the sorrow, heroes light the way. “During one of our country’s darkest days, our heroes shined the brightest,” shared Naval Support Activity South Potomac (NSASP) Capt. Todd Copeland, who was deployed overseas at the time.
Ahead of the 20th anniversary, NSASP held an in-person observance Sept. 10, highlighting the American promise to “Never Forget.” The event was also held virtually – live streamed on the NSASP Facebook page. Featured guests included U.S. Representative from Virginia-1st District Congressman Rob Wittman, leaders from the King George Board of Supervisors and a Gold Star mother whose son died at the Pentagon when the plane hit.
At the beginning of the observance, attendees heard the timeline of the attack with exact times that events unfolded. Following the timeline recap, active duty members shared six specific stories of heroism, including Todd Beamer, the man aboard Flight 93 who rallied passengers to overtake their assailants, dying when the flight crashed in Stoneycreek Township, Pa.; and Welles Crowther, “the man in the red bandana,” who sacrificed his life to rescue others in the towers.
Wittman then took to the stage, highlighting the images of bravery. “This is our legacy of what we must do as a nation,” he said. “Use [these stories of heroism] as motivation.”
A large portion of the observance was dedicated to the remembrance of the victims at the Pentagon. The names of each individual who died at the Pentagon were read aloud, followed by the ringing of the bell. The names echoed off the buildings surrounding the Dahlgren Parade Field eerily, each receiving a moment of due silence.
As the anniversary of the attack passes, the promise to “Never Forget” holds strong – never forget the sacrifice of heroes that day. Never forget the sacrifice of heroes every day since. Never forget how the attacks changed our country. “May the God of comfort give peace,” prayed Chaplain Jeremy Selitto at the close of the ceremony.