Naval Support Activity South Potomac (NSASP) leaders welcomed Gold Star family members, tenants, first responders, local leaders, Rep. Rob Wittman, Virginia 1st District, and Maryland State Senator Arthur Ellis, to the Naval Support Facility (NSF) Dahlgren Parade Field and later, the Indian Head Village Green Pavilion to mark the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"Today we are here to honor and remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001,” said CDR Robert Lusk, executive officer of NSASP and emcee of the remembrances. “On this day 20 years ago, the world watched as America was changed forever, history books were rewritten, and Americans were never the same again. Innocent people, including hundreds of brave first responders, lost their lives on that day. Families lost sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. We pause today, here, across the country, and the world, to remember those thousands lost on 9/11, the thousands who are suffering and have died since 9/11 from injuries and illness resulting from the response to the attacks, and the war on terrorism across the globe; and the families who have lost loved ones on that day and throughout the years since.”
Lusk presented a timeline of the attacks, while senior enlisted leaders from NSASP and tenant commands recalled a small sample of the extraordinary acts of heroism demonstrated during the attacks, including the crew of Flight 93 and the actions of Rick Rescorla, a British-born Vietnam veteran who died while evacuating hundreds of people from the South Tower.
CAPT Todd Copeland, commanding officer of NSASP, shared his recollections of that day, including those of a friend who fell at the Pentagon. He also recalled the raw emotions - anger and a sense of purpose - upon seeing the World Trade Center towers fall. At the time, he was flying P-3s in the Middle East; one of his New Yorker crewmen received a package of badges from the city's fire department.
"We all flew for the rest of the deployment wearing those patches. We did it because if something went bad, we wanted them to know why we were there and who sent us," he said. "Today I want to spend most of my time talking about the people who gave us those patches."
Copeland praised first responders not only for their heroic actions on 9/11, but for the heroism they demonstrate every day at NSF Dahlgren, NSF Indian Head, and in the local community on mutual aid calls. "During our darkest days, heroes shine the brightest," he said.
Lusk read the names of the 184 victims who lost their lives at the Pentagon, each followed by a solemn bell toll.
Thanks to all who made these remembrance ceremonies possible.