By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
Sept. 11, 2009 - The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va., unveiled the latest revisions to its Global War on Terror exhibit today, commemorating the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The exhibit opening followed a wreath-laying ceremony and moment of silence at 9:37 a.m., marking the exact time American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, killing 189 people.
More than 200 visitors attended the ceremony in remembrance of all 2,993 Americans killed in the attacks at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center in Manhattan, and when a hijacked jetliner crashed over Pennsylvania.
"None of us will forget where we were that day," Gwenn Adams, a spokeswoman for the museum said in a telephone interview today. "We continue to reflect on that and not let the lives that were lost be lost in vain."
Artifacts from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon crash site -- an analog clock from the Pentagon stopped at 9:37 a.m., a Pentagon appointment book opened to Sept. 11, 2001, and personal belongings recovered from unidentified victims in the Ground Zero debris -- help visitors remember why troops are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, she said.
Other artifacts, such as the Marine Corps flag that remained standing in the Marine Corps commandant's office during the Pentagon attack and a New York City firefighter's uniform and recovery tools from 9/11, serve as a reminder of the poise and selfless service Americans showed on that historic day, she added.
"The Marine Corps flag never fell, it never wavered, and it stayed upright during the attack on the Pentagon," said Adams, a retired Marine combat correspondent. "That says so much for me about Marines and Americans, in general."
William Dunleavy, a former Marine and New York City firefighter donated the uniform he wore and some of the equipment he used to recover victims at Ground Zero. The patriotism of Dunleavy and other first responders has been followed by eight years of fighting and sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 5,000 military members have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sparked by 9/11.
"Those events on 9/11 continue to affect us on a daily basis," Adams said. "Not only did it solidify the patriotism of Americans, but it led to this global war on terrorism, where again, our men and women are in a situation where they're giving everything to service to our country."
The exhibit is part of the museum's Global War on Terror exhibit and will be on display for about six months. After that time, the museum will continue its regular updates of photographs, paintings and artifacts of the Marine Corps' efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.