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DOD Forever Resilient After 9/11

  • Published
  • By Joseph Clark
  • DOD News

More than two decades after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack, the defense community's resilience and commitment to serve in the face of tragedy continues to shine through, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said today.

"As the years since September 11th increase, so, too, does the importance of telling our stories," she said at a ceremony for Defense Department employees marking the 22nd anniversary of the attack that killed 184 people at the Pentagon. "Because even as many of us have personal memories of what happened that day, an increasing share of Americans don't. They were too young or hadn't yet been born. 

"Even so, 9/11 has impacted their lives, and they should know how and why," she said. "Telling our stories helps increase understanding across generations." 

Hicks, who was present at the Pentagon on the day of the attack, said she will "be forever struck by the resiliency that our friends and colleagues demonstrated in the minutes, hours and days that followed the attack on the Pentagon." 

She noted the displays of empathy and "deep-rooted instinct to help and be of service to others" among the workforce amid the tragedy.  

"All of that shone through that day," Hicks said. "So did this team's unbelievable resolve and strength. It's no wonder the doors of the Pentagon reopened the very next day." 

That drive to serve others echoed throughout the U.S. in the months and years following the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center in New York and aboard United Airlines flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  

In the year that followed, more than 254,000 young people answered the call to serve in the military, Hicks said.  

"Many of those said that they had never even considered military service, that they were motivated by what had happened on 9/11 and its aftermath," she said. "They had come to understand that military service represented something larger than themselves." 


That outpouring patriotism and selflessness serves as an apt reminder, Hicks said, as the nation this year marks the 50th anniversary of all-volunteer force

"The events of 9/11 transformed our nation and how we view our national security," Hicks said. "It also transformed each of us individually in ways that we don't always talk about publicly. That's why we hold this special observance each year to hold space for this community." 

"You are not alone," she said. "We have not forgotten about you or those we lost, and we never will."