Commemorating the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, the deadliest terrorist attacks in our nation’s history, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security hosted a “Never Forget” memorial service that included remarks by longtime CHDS faculty member and counterterrorism expert David Brannan at Herrmann Hall at NPS on Monday, Sept. 11.
With NPS Pres. Adm. Ann Rondeau, CHDS Master’s Program lead Lauren Fernandez, longtime CHDS faculty member Anders Strindberg, and the Master’s cohort 2303/04 in attendance for the raising of the U.S. flag and the memorial, Brannan marked the somber occasion by recounting the 9/11 attacks mounted by al-Qaeda hijackers in commercial aircraft on the World Trade Center North and South Towers and the Pentagon, as well as the hijacked aircraft that crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers and crew stormed the cockpit, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Brannan noted Pres. George W. Bush put all U.S. military forces on high alert throughout the world later in the day on 9/11 and delivered a speech to the nation in which he said, “Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America—with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors.”
“In just a minute,” Brannan said, “I would like us to recognize and remember the acts that certainly forever changed my life, and many of those that continue to keep this vigil 22 years later.”
Brannan noted the remembrance was “for the victims on American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175,” and “for those civilians and responders inside and underneath the collapse of the World Trade Center’s North and South Towers,” and “for those onboard American Airlines Flight 77 and for those serving inside the Pentagon” who were struck by that aircraft, and “finally for the brave souls aboard Flight 93 which forced the terrorist to crash in a deserted field near Shanksville, PA, before they could kill more on the ground—we now know the likely targets were either the White House or the Capitol building.”
Remembering that he and colleague Dr. Bruce Hoffman were working on a counterterrorism project at the Rand DC office overlooking the Pentagon attack site on 9/11, and his subsequent call to Strindberg, Brannan said the three of them “were forever changed that day,” and “always stop to remember” the anniversary.
He encouraged those in attendance to observe a “moment of silence to reflect on your whereabouts that day, and how the 9/11 attacks changed your lives.”
Following the moment of silence, Brannan said, “This is and will forever be a solemn day for me. I don’t remember to keep hate alive. I remember to give honor to those brave first responders and victims who died that day 22 years ago.
“Thank you for coming. You are dismissed.”
After the ceremony, attendees were encouraged to take a walk to the NPS 9/11 Memorial made with steel from the World Trade Center at the reflecting pond in honor of those we lost that day.