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Army keeping promise to remember 9/11

Army keeping promise to remember 9/11

Army keeping promise to remember 9/11

11 September 2021

Emergency Disaster Services teams from The Salvation Army Greater New York Division at Ground Zero on 11 September 2001. The Army was one of the first relief organisations to have support crews at the World Trade Center site. Photograph: salvationarmy.org

By Darryl Whitecross

In many parts of the world today, people will pause to remember the events of 11 September 2001 – forever known as 9/11.

It was 20 years ago today that many Australians woke to the news that two aircraft had been deliberately flown into the World Trade Center’s ‘twin towers’ in New York, which subsequently collapsed. Another plane was flown into the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed in Pennsylvania – the coordinated work of terrorists.

The Salvation Army was the first relief agency at Ground Zero, the term given to the epicentre of the events of that fateful Tuesday morning in New York. Army response teams arrived within half an hour of the first plane hitting the north tower.

Warren Maye, the Greater New York Division Communications Department Editor In Chief, said the Army spent the next nine months running a relief effort called Operation Compassion Under Fire. More than 40,000 officers, staff and volunteers gave about one million hours of their time and served about 3.2 million meals until the operation concluded in May 2002. About $A122 million was donated to support this work.

The USA Eastern Territory magazine, SAconnects, has produced a special edition to mark the anniversary. In his editorial, Warren said the Army had promised to “never forget what happened on 9/11”. “Despite budget cuts or whatever else might get in the way, we promised to never forget,” Warren wrote. “This year is the most important observance so far.”

The official Ground Zero Memorial Service will be held today at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, which stands on the site of the original towers.

Warren said the Greater New York Division would host its own public 9/11 Healing and Remembrance service, including a live stream of the official ‘Reading of the Names’ ceremony from the Ground Zero service. He said more than a dozen agencies and not-for-profit organisations would participate in the Army’s service at the New York City theatre and event spaces from 8am New York time.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ricardo Fernandez, Greater New York Divisional Commander, said the event would be an opportunity for first responders and others affected by the events of the day to “come together, commemorate and mourn in a safe and supportive environment”.

Ricardo said the Army and other organisations continued to work with individuals and families still affected by the events of that day.

In Washington DC, Sherman Avenue Corps will host a 9/11 breakfast for first responders.

Corps Officer Major Srikant Bhatnagar said the corps would run the breakfast from 5am to allow as many first responders to be able to attend. Two men from the corps who were part of the Army’s response at the Pentagon 20 years ago would be helping serve food at the commemorative breakfast. Srikant said the Army had run two canteens for two weeks at the Pentagon as part of its relief and support efforts in 2001.

The breakfast will be held to coincide with a ceremony at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River, hosted by Lloyd Austin (US Defence Secretary) and General Mark Milley (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army).

General’s message

The Army’s world leader, General Brian Peddle, has recorded a message to be broadcast around the Army world.

In his message, the General says the events of 11 September 2001 were still being felt, not only in the United States, but beyond: “Such is the nature of trauma, something of the violent wound remains. It is always here.”

He says that while there was “no easy answer to the world’s experiences of collective trauma, we are invited by the risen Christ to place our personal trauma and our collective trauma in his wounded hands. As we pray for the nations of the world, may we recognise the sacrificial love that God has for his world, a love that is demonstrated with the continuing marks of trauma – ‘Those wounds yet visible above’.”

Commissioner Robert Donaldson, Territorial Commander of Australia, said all Australians should be reminded on such an occasion that “all of Christ’s followers” were called to be peacemakers in the world.

 

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