Never Forget 9/11

2011 Air Force Public Affairs Agency Speech Series

10th Anniversary of 9/11Terrorist Attacks

Good (afternoon, evening) ladies and gentlemen, friends, families and veterans - and welcome.

Introduction
(Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today)
We gather today to remember 10 years ago, when terrorists attacked Americans on United States' soil. Individual memories of that day have brought us together as a Nation. Together we remember the event and the resilience it prompted, unifying America under our principle of freedom while honoring those who sacrificed of themselves for our safety. 

We will never forget the planes crashing into the World Trade Center's twin towers or the Pentagon burning. Images from that day ensure we remember the smoke and rubble and victims' tears. But we also remember the heroes of that day, uniformed and civilian: the firefighters and police officers who rushed into burning buildings to save the people trapped inside; the heroic passengers on Flight 93 who fought to retake their plane that later crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in an effort to save innocent lives. We do not forget the innocent people who lost their lives that day - each person was a friend, a family member, a coworker. Every person is missed.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attack not only affected our Nation, but changed the world and our relationships in it. Citizens of ninety countries were among the nearly 3,000 victims.i The attacks united us with our fellow democratic nations against an ideology of radical extremism. As we reflect on the horrific day that marked the beginning of our struggle to better secure the world from these threatsii, we honor the unwavering courage of the men and women in our Armed Forces and our Allies in their ongoing efforts of securing our Nation, and in their continuing fight against terrorism. 

10th anniversary of Operation Enduring Freedom approaching
With the 10th anniversary of Operation Enduring Freedom approaching October 7th, we also remember the continuing efforts of American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, comprising the most dedicated, professional, and powerful military force in the world. They directly combat terrorism and the conditions that give rise to extremismiii to prevent future attacks on our homeland and our fellow Americans. 

Today, there are more than 40,000 Airmen currently deployed around the world supporting joint and coalition forces with air, space and cyberspace capabilities. More than 57,000 Airmen are permanently stationed overseas supporting combatant commanders, and approximately 200,000 support daily combatant commander operations from stateside locations.iv 

Ten years of combat deployments have stressed our force and our families. Their sacrifices are not in vain. The dedication of our Airmen to the ongoing efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan, aided by their families' support, has yielded success. Though even as conditions enable us to responsibly draw down our operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, we will certainly continue to see considerable demand for the capabilities Airmen provide every day.v 

We remember the successful transition one year ago from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn, signifying the end of combat operations in Iraq.vi We continue our commitment to the Iraqi people, today. We continue to train and equip the Iraqi military and police force to strengthen Iraqi security and allow them to protect their own country. We are helping rebuild the civilian capacity of the Iraqi people by providing a secure environment with the cooperation and partnership of the Iraqi security forces. The U.S. continues to build everlasting partnerships and friendships with the government and people of Iraq that will last far into the future.vii 

We continue our efforts in Afghanistan as well. We remember the rise of democratic government and the Afghan people's participation in their government through open elections. Afghan National Security Forces continue to take on more responsibility for the security for their country and civilians, under the guidance of Air Force advisors.viii ix Our nation's security rests on both our force's pursuit of terrorist elements as well as our fostering the strength of these fledgling democracies.

The September 11th attack altered our view of the world and sparked a global effort to combat terrorism.x Our constant vigilance and dedication to bring to justice those individuals and organizations involved in terrorist activities has lead to terrorist leaders being captured or killed. This year's operation during which Osama Bin Laden was killed reminds us of the patience and tenacity that defense against such extremists requires of our force in the future.xi 

Resilient
After ten years of sustained combat operations, we as an Air Force and a Nation remain resilient. Our service men and women and their families bear the enormous burden of war's difficult toll. And, by defending our Nation when our leadership asks, they also do what is right.xii 

Caring for our Airmen and their families remains a priority for the Air Force. This commitment will ensure we retain the best-qualified Airmen and sustain the quality of services for them and their families.xiii At this convergence of prolonged conflict, ongoing fiscal distress, and federal resource constraints, resiliency becomes an increasingly significant priority for commanders, supervisors, and wingmen at all levels. As our service members answer the call to serve, our Joint force's effectiveness depends largely on the ability of our Airmen and their families to manage deployment-related challenges and bounce back from setbacks.xiv 

We do not forget those sacrifices of our men and women serving the military and our country, be they civilian or uniformed personnel. Knowing that their loved ones, friends, family and the American public support them provides the strength for them to remain resilient.

As President Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." 
Such necessary vigilance requires our endurance and resilience. If we as an Air Force continue to train and prepare our Airmen for the future we will also continue to preserve our Nation's freedom through our excellence in Air, Space and Cyberspace power.

Closing
As we gather to remember September 11, 2001, we remember those who lost their lives that day and in the fighting that has followed. We remember our men and women in harm's way today fighting the extremists who plan and execute terrorist attacks. We as an Air Force and we as a Nation must remain resilient and dedicated to protecting our Nation and our citizens. 

Thank you.


Endnotes
Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy, tri-signature letter to Airmen about the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on America, Sept. 1, 2011; (URL pending)

ii Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy, tri-signature letter to Airmen about the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on America, Sept. 1, 2011; (URL pending)

iii Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy, tri-signature letter to Airmen about the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on America, Sept. 1, 2011; (URL pending)

iv AFNS Story: Air Force leaders laud AFSA, Airmen at gala, July 29, 2011, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz speech at Air Force First Sergeants Association Annual Professional Airmen's Conference July 27, 2011; http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123265959

AFNS Story: Air Force leaders laud AFSA, Airmen at gala, July 29, 2011, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz speech at Air Force First Sergeants Association Annual Professional Airmen's Conference July 27, 2011;http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123265959 

vi AFNS Story, U.S. forces transition to Operation New Dawn, Sept. 1 2010; www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123220049 

vii Official Website of United States Forces-Iraq, Operation New Dawn, Mission Statement; www.usf-iraq.com/new-face-of-iraq/operation-new-dawn 

viii Transition Key to Success in Afghanistan, Panetta Says, Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service, July 9, 2011;www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=64601 

ix AFNS Story, U.S. forces transition to Operation New Dawn, Sept. 1 2010; www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123220049 

Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy, tri-signature letter to Airmen about the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on America, Sept. 1, 2011; (URL pending)

xi AFNS Story, U.S. kills bin Laden in intelligence-driven operation, May 2, 2011; www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123254080 

xii Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz, Fisher House of the Families of the Fallen Dedication Ceremony, Nov. 10, 2010; www.af.mil/shared/media/document/afd-101110-032.pdf 

xiii Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz, CSAF Vector 2011, July 4, 2011; www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-110703-001.pdf 

xiv Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz, Caring for People Forum: "Resiliency," July 21, 2011;www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-110728-028.pdf 

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