MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, NORTH CAROLINA -- Service members bowed their heads for prayer as unprecedented silence filled the roadhouse for a moment of remembrance during a 9/11 Memorial Service at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Sept. 11.
Marines and Sailors from across 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing recited passages written by witnesses recounting the events that occurred during an unprecedented attack on American soil.
A bell echoed throughout the otherwise still room on four occasions marking the times of all four fateful incidents on that day.
“The events of 9/11 are some of those events that dramatically changed the perspective of the citizens of the United States and I think you can equate it to the attack on Pearl Harbor,” said Cmdr. David A. Shirk, the command chaplain for MCAS Cherry Point.
Millions of Americans gather every 9/11 to honor the fallen. Many remember what it was like to turn on the news and witness the ash and debris as it cascaded over New York City’s streets while bystanders scattered to safety.
“I remembered when it happened, I was in kindergarten and our teachers were in a panic,” explained Cpl. Rosemarie E. Smith, a field radio operator with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28. “I didn’t really understand what was going on at the time, but I knew it wasn’t good.”
As service members paid their tributes during the event, some shared where they were when they saw the tragedy unfold. Several generations who were affected by the events spoke during the ceremony, some shared stories and memories, while others shared shock and grief with the rest of the nation.
“No one expected the events that happened on 9/11,” said Smith. “Anything could happen at any given time. You should always train as hard as you can and ensure you are proficient in your job, so in case something like this happens, you are ready to deploy and face the enemy.”
Americans need to educate themselves on the events of Sep. 11 and never forget the lives that were lost, explained Shirk. The U.S. had their perspective of the whole world changed because of the events that took place that day. The way Americans thought before, and how they think now will never be the same, he said.