Vice Chairman Notes Value of 9/11 Artifact Tributes
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2011 During a community remembrance event in the Pentagon courtyard today marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff noted the value of tributes created from artifacts of the tragedy.
“While the World Trade Center steel dispersed across our nation serves as an important symbol of the steel of American resolve and resilience, the effort we celebrate today brings back together the American spirit of family, togetherness and patriotism,” Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr. said.
What has become known as the national 9/11 flag -- one of the largest American flags to fly above the wreckage at ground zero in New York – was on display at the event. The flag was destroyed in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks and was stitched back together seven years later by tornado survivors in Greensburg, Kan.
“You see, woven into each of the pieces of this wonderful flag lies a story as unique as the community from which it came,” Winnefeld said. “From people like tornado victims in Greensburg, Kan., who began the effort while their own community was being rebuilt, children and soldiers from Fort Hood, military families at Offutt Air Force Base, veterans at a VA hospital in Illinois, and many, many other places.”
Winnefeld reflected on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and lasting impact on the United States.
“This weekend, Americans all around the world will pause to remember the tragedy that took place 10 years ago in New York City, Shanksville, Pa., and right here at the Pentagon,” Winnefeld said. “Yet, from the carnage of that day, a new story – an American story -- has emerged.”
Winnefeld said material salvaged from the World Trade Center has been used to create remembrance of 9/11 all across the country.
“In the aftermath of 9/11, steel from our World Trade Center was dispersed across our great country to serve as lasting memorials in places like the Dixon Fire Department in northern California, where a piece of steel sits as part of their 9/11 memorial,” he said.
“In upstate New York, where a 10,000-pound beam is the central part of a park renamed Memorial Park in the small town of Clarence Center,” Winnefeld said. “And right in front of my old headquarters in Northern Command, where a piece of World Trade Center steel reminds everybody who walks into that headquarters every day of what the [importance of the] work their doing.”
Winnefeld also talked about the Navy’s use of material from the World Trade Center.
“The tributes live on in ships like USS New York, whose bow is constructed using 7 and a half tons of this steel -- steel that returns to [its] home port of New York City this weekend.
“And she will soon be joined in the fleet by USS Arlington and USS Somerset, which will incorporate materials salvaged from those two sites as well,” the admiral added.
The vice chairman said that in adding their mark, the Pentagon community will further contribute to the story of the national 9/11 flag.
“Now, members of the Pentagon family will have their chance to add a stitch to this flag,” he said. “Collectively, these stories and these pieces will restore a flag and will continue to restore hope for so many who lost someone on that awful day.”