9/11 ceremony honors those who paid ultimate sacrifice during Overseas Contingency Operations

By Kevin S. Abel

A Patriot Day ceremony was held at Washington Square on Patch Barracks to mark the 16th anniversary of Sept. 11.

Nearly 3,000 civilians lost their lives that tragic day 16 years ago at the World Trade Center, on Flight 93 and at the Pentagon. Since then more than 6,800 American service members have made the ultimate sacrifice fighting the Overseas Contingency Operations, and countless other lives have been deeply touched by these losses.

Guest speaker for the event was Col. Sean M. McBride, Chief of Staff, Marine Forces Europe/Africa who reflected on where he was on 9/11 and its effects on his military career.

“I bet that every one of you, like me, can remember exactly what you were doing on that morning 16 years ago when you learned that our country was under attack,” said McBride. “Just think about that for a minute…do you remember?  I do…I was driving, with a good friend of mine, Joe Paschall, from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, to Dam Neck Naval Base in Virginia Beach to give a briefing.”

After seeing the attacks on the news, McBride said that he felt helpless, vulnerable, and worried for his family who were back at Lejeune.

As result of the attacks of 9/11, the United States has been continuously at war for a longer duration than any time in its history.

“Our high school sophomores have known nothing but war for their entire lives. And if they have a family member in the Service, they have no doubt spent many, many long nights worrying about their mom or dad or brother or sister, who was deployed…again… in some godforsaken place previously unheard of by the average American,” said McBride.

The ceremony concluded by McBride encouraging and challenging the attendees of Service members, civilian employees, U.S. and German first responders to use the occasion not only to remember the victims, heroes, and the families affected by 9/11, but to also focus on those things that support and sustain us; those things that hold us together as a nation and still hold us together in moments of peril.