QUEENS, N.Y. –
The U.S. Army Reserve partnered with the Fire Department of New York Sept. 11 at Fort Totten to remember those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.
"9/11 was an historic tragedy that will forever stay ingrained and etched in the minds of so many," said Maj. Gen. Kris Belanger, commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve's 99th Readiness Division.
"That particular morning, I remember getting a phone call to turn on the news,” she continued. “It was then that I saw the second plane hit the Twin Towers, and I knew, at that moment, life would never be the same."
The annual commemoration paid tribute to the 343 members of the FDNY who were lost on 9/11, as well as those who died over the past two decades due to illnesses related to the attacks and their aftermath.
"In the midst of chaos and destruction, it was the first responders who stepped forward without hesitation, embodying the true essence of courage, selflessness and unwavering dedication," said Chief Michael Fields, Chief of Emergency Management Services, FDNY. "We come together to not only mourn our loss, but to pay tribute to the remarkable resilience and heroism exhibited by the first responders on that fateful day."
The event also honored six Soldiers from Fort Totten's former 77th Regional Support Command who were lost on 9/11 - five as members of the FDNY, and one who worked at the World Trade Center.
"As we mark the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, and we pause to honor and remember the victims of the worst attack on our homeland in the history of the nation, we must rededicate ourselves to our military and nation by standing strong, standing together, and standing ready to defend America against all enemies foreign and domestic, now and in the years to come," Belanger said.
"Throughout 20 years of war, America's sons and daughters from all backgrounds came together to serve this great nation selflessly with the support of their families and communities,” she continued. “America's military is the strength of the nation, and its men and women in uniform continue to epitomize resiliency, strength and commitment to the country.”
In 2001, President George W. Bush designated Sept. 11 as Patriot Day. In 2009, Congress designated Sept. 11 as a national day of service and remembrance.
"Just last year, I was serving at the Pentagon, working every day in an office located directly where that attack occurred," Belanger said. "The memorial outside my window was a stark reminder of why we remember - so that we never forget.a