By Army Pfc. Lyndsey Dransfield
Special to American Forces Press Service
Sept. 11, 2008 - Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division and their fellow servicemembers and civilians gathered in front of the division's headquarters today to honor and remember the people who lost their lives seven years ago and the heroes who came forth to protect the country in its time of need. Army Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commander of Multinational Division Baghdad and the 4th Infantry Division, was the keynote speaker during the Ironhorse Division's Patriot Day observance.
"[Sept. 11, 2001] is a day that will live in infamy, just as the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941," he said. "These attacks were similar – they awoke our great nation and mobilized America's credentials. It's what brought us here today and is the heart of what we are doing now. Today, as we remember those we lost on Sept. 11, let's not forget the 89 MND-B soldiers we've lost since our transition of authority."
Following Hammond's remarks, those gathered silently observed as three wreaths were hung beneath large photographs depicting the tragedies at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and the crash site of United Flight 93 in commemoration of the servicemembers, rescue workers and civilians who lost their lives.
Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Gioia, senior enlisted leader of Multinational Division Baghdad and the 4th Infantry Division, placed an American flag that was flown at Ground Zero in front of the photo of the fallen Twin Towers, and then rendered honors. The flag was presented to the soldiers and leaders of 4th Infantry Division by firefighters of Ladder 10, Engine 10, Engine 24 and Ladder 5 of the New York City Fire Department.
The flag is a sobering reminder of the tragic events that claimed the lives of all of the firefighters from these ladders and engines as they attempted to provide aid to their fellow Americans.
The crowd then stood and solemnly held a salute while a lone bugler from the 4th Infantry Division Band poignantly played "Taps."
"Today's ceremony was outstanding," said Army Spc. Clint Baltzly, a native of Canton, Ohio, who serves as a petroleum specialist with Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, attached to the 4th Infantry Division Special Troops Battalion. "The mood that was set and delivered was very appropriate. It's important for us to remember and never forget the tragic events of this day so that we don't take things for granted."
(Army Pfc. Lyndsey Dransfield serves in the Multinational Division Baghdad Public Affairs Office.)