Cheney: 9/11 Showed Spirit of the Pentagon
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2006 Immediately after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the nation was thrown into a war-time mode, and the public got a glimpse of the culture inside the Pentagon and the quality of the people who work there, Vice President Richard B. Cheney said here today.
“We saw a great deal to make us proud. Suddenly, our nation was at war, and the switch to a war footing here was immediate,” Cheney said at a Pentagon memorial observance for family members of Sept. 11 victims. “Everyone seemed to rush forward to help. Minutes after the attack, Marines had organized a watch outside. The secretary of defense himself helped carry out the wounded.”
Within hours of the attacks, Pentagon officials were already holding their first meeting to review military options. Meanwhile, a giant flag unfurled at the building rallied the country, reminding the American people how fortunate they are to have the men and women of the Pentagon on duty, Cheney said.
In the five years since the attacks, America has needed the Defense Department as much as ever, and has learned a lot from the global war on terror, he said.
“We have learned that oceans do not protect us, and threats that gather thousands of miles away can now find us here at home,” he said. “We have learned that there is a certain kind of enemy whose ambitions have no limits and whose cruelty is only fed by the grief of others. And in these years, we also found our mission: To defend America against a present danger and to offer a democracy and hope as the alternative to extremism and terror.”
The war on terror has placed hard duties on the military and DoD, Cheney said, but America has a history of championing the cause of liberty and will not give up in the current struggle.
“In the conduct of this war, the world has seen the best that is in our country,” he said. “We have shown that Americans are a resolute people clear in our purposes.”
“This struggle is fierce, and it will be lengthy, but it is not endless,” he said. “Our cause is right, our will is strong. This great nation will prevail.”