On Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 lives, including those of 71 law-enforcement officers and 343 firefighters, were taken in an act of terrorism.
Maj. Gen. John Evans Jr., commanding general of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, said the firefighters and law-enforcement officers were doing what they do best, “Sacrificing themselves to save the innocent.”
“Without thought for consequence and disregard for their personal safety, they rushed into the towers at New York City to aid the wounded, the fallen,” he said Wednesday morning during a Patriot Day ceremony on post in remembrance of the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
One of the fallen was Walter Edward Weaver. Evans said Weaver began his career with NYPD in 1992. Typically off on Tuesdays, on that occasion Weaver picked up a shift from a fellow officer, Evans said. Weaver last was seen on the sixth floor of the north tower attempting to rescue victims in the World Trade Center before it collapsed at 10:28 a.m.
He is just one representation of the many lives lost that day. Although Americans felt beaten on Sept. 11, 2001, Evans said the country came together with resolve in the aftermath.
“I remember how our country came together when we were attacked. I think that is the real spirit of America. We tend to squabble amongst ourselves about things … but when somebody attacks America, our homeland, we come together with resolve,” he said. “I think we did that after 9/11 and we are continuing to do that.”
Evans said 9/11 is a day America must never forget. In addition, he said, “We can’t allow the youth of America to forget why 9/11 is important to us.”
Liam Kuane, winner of the Fort Knox High School essay contest, echoed those sentiments Wednesday when he read his essay to those in attendance at the ceremony. The essay topic was “What does 9/11 mean to me?” Kuane was not yet born at the time of the attack.
Kuane said people must continue recounting the day to ensure future generations remember the 9/11 attacks and how they changed this country and the world.
“Every American has a duty to remember what 9/11 means and has a responsibility to fulfill that duty and honor,” he said.
The ceremony also featured a 21-gun salute, playing of “Taps” and a memorial tolling of the bell to honor victims, as well as a wreath laying and special music by the Fort Knox Middle High School choir.