MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Today hundreds of U.S. Special Operations Command headquarters personnel gathered here at the Special Operations Forces (SOF) Memorial to observe the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The observance paid tribute to the thousands of Americans and international citizens who lost their lives on Sept, 11, 2001, when terrorists high-jacked commercial airliners and crashed two of them into New York City’s World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
A fourth airliner crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers tried to take back control of the aircraft from the terrorists.
The observance commemorated the 2,977 American men, women and children and 372 international lives lost during the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the plane crash in Pennsylvania.
In addition to remembering the victims, the Deputy Commander of USSOCOM reminded the audience of the changes that occurred shortly thereafter.
“We are gathered here today to remember a blue-sky morning that forever changed the path of each and every one of us,” said Vice Adm. Tim Szymanski. “It changed the role, intensity and pace of SOF employment and brought us closer together as one force, as one nation.”
In response to the 9/11 attacks, special operators and conventional military forces were deployed across the globe.
The admiral went on to tell ceremony attendees about the special operators who have been and are still deployed around the world continuing the campaign against terrorism.
“At this very minute, 7,128 special operators, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, are away from their families opposing those that would seek to restrict our freedoms,” said Szymanski. “We seek them out in the shadows. We confront them in their back yards. We intercept them before they can touch our families and freedoms.”
Marlee Michael sings the national anthem opening the 9/11 remembrance ceremony held at the Special Operations Memorial on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Sept. 11, 2019. Members of U.S. Special Operations Command attended the ceremony that marked the 18th anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. (Photo by Michael Bottoms, USSOCOM Office of Communication)