CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti - The ringing of a bell could be heard resonating over the quiet morning air at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (CLDJ), today, as people gathered to remember the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Members of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and CLDJ paid tribute to the first responders, and honored the memory of the 2,977 victims who lost their lives on this day 18 years ago, during a ceremony held under the U.S. flag, flown at half staff, here.
Though everyone felt the effects of that day, it holds special importance for service members who have fought to eliminate terrorism around the world.
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Angel Rosario, operations NCOIC, 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Warrior, New Jersey Army National Guard assigned to CJTF-HOA, who experienced the attacks firsthand, spoke about his experience as a Newark, New Jersey fire fighter and Army National Guard first responder during that day, and why it is important to continue to remember.
“I had a couple people come up to me today saying they were in grade school and they didn’t realize the impact at that time,” said Rosario. “You see it, it’s in history, but to actually talk and hear it from somebody who lived that time, and lost friends, and continue to deal with health issues, if you weren’t there, it’s hard to visualize or feel the impact of that day.”
During the ceremony a detail marched 2,977 steps, each one representing a life lost in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.
People around the globe take time to remember the heroes who lost their lives that day, from the first responders who selflessly entered the burning towers, making the ultimate sacrifice in the name of saving others, to the brave men and women of United Airlines flight 93 whose actions saved countless lives, and those who continue to defend freedom in every corner of the globe.
“Now-a-days a lot of young people didn’t live through that day,” Rosario said. “We have young men and women coming in [to the military] who don’t know how we got here. The lives lost and the way [the U.S.] came together afterwards, and continues to come together; there’s reason we’re doing this.”