Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group, Middle Pacific
My home is a short walk from the waters of Pearl Harbor.
My office looks out over the ships in Pearl Harbor.
Every day, we who live and work at Pearl Harbor are surrounded by history that reminds us of the need to be vigilant, trained and ready.
We are also reminded of the tenacity, spirit and determination of the American people.
Like the attack on Dec. 7, 1941, the attacks on Sept.11, 2001 took nearly 3,000 lives and brought devastation and heartbreak to thousands more.
At last year’s Sept.11 observance, our commander in chief, President Barack Obama, reminded the world about America’s resilience and how the crucible of 9/11 only made us stronger.
He said, “America endures in the strength of … families … in the tenacity of our survivors … in the dedication of those who keep us safe (our first responders) … [and] in the courage of the men and women who serve under our flag…”
Those of us who wear the uniforms of our nation stand shoulder to shoulder with those who wear the uniforms of our states, cities and counties—as brothers and sisters.
Service members of the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy here in Hawaii—along with the National Guard— train to be ready to respond.
Like other first responders—police, firefighters and EMS—we are prepared to run toward danger, ready to save lives.
Because of the great ohana in Hawaii—and outstanding logistical support here—our nation’s ships, subs, planes and ground forces are able to train with those of partner nations.
Specific to the Navy, we conduct exercises in the Hawaiian Islands, especially at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai and especially during RIMPAC.
We remain powered-up and ready to deploy. When we operate overseas, among other operations, we disrupt terrorist plots and eliminate terrorist threats before they can do us harm here at home.
For me, 9/11 is a reminder that we are stronger when we work together, that our differences can be the source of our greatest strength, and that ultimately it’s how we react to adversity that counts.
And 9/11—like Dec. 7 – reminds us all how blessed we are, how hard we must work to avoid disaster, and how we can act with honor during a crisis, together.
This is a time to reflect on the terrible loss sustained on Sept. 11, 2001. And, it is also a time to be proud of our resilience, determination and unity as Americans.
Let’s remember the words of a great patriot and a founder of our nation, Benjamin Franklin. He was a global diplomat, an early supporter of our Navy, and a mentor to John Paul Jones.
Benjamin Franklin famously said: “We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
In the ongoing fight against violent extremism— and in our efforts to prevent terrorists from reaching our shores again—we must hang together, work together, and defend together.