By Army Spc. Mary L. Gonzalez
Special to American Forces Press Service
Sept. 11, 2008 - Soldiers and civilians from several nations affected by the war on terror gathered beneath the towering flagpoles at the Combined Joint Task Force 101 headquarters here today to remember Sept. 11, 2001. "Today is a day of remembrance, but it's also a day, especially for us here, of recommitment," said Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
In the entryway of the task force headquarters hangs a picture of two smouldering towers, one engulfed by a fireball, the other billowing clouds of black smoke. This picture reminds all who come inside that they are here to keep that day from ever happening again.
"Since this day seven years ago, the world has transformed," McKiernan said. "And because of the brave men and women willing to fight this tough battle, we know that the ideals of human dignity will prevail against evil."
Army Chaplain (Maj.) Karen Meeker, deputy chaplain for Combined Joint Task Force 101, offered a prayer for those in attendance and those who were there on that day.
"Bless the souls of the thousands of citizens from over 90 countries and the hundreds of emergency responders who were killed seven years ago today," Meeker said.
Crumbling New York towers, billowing smoke from the Pentagon and a gaping hole in a Shanksville, Pa., field will forever scar memories, she said, but she called on all nations that recognize that freedom is the right of every human being to solidify into an unstoppable force and to not let this fight be passed to the next generation.
"We remember the legacy of our fallen heroes in the war on terror -- warriors who answered the call of duty that made the ultimate sacrifice," McKiernan said. "We recognize that we are still in a fight to secure a future free from oppression, and we know we must succeed in this mission."
(Army Spc. Mary L. Gonzalez serves in the Combine Joint Task Force 101 Public Affairs Office.)