COMPACAF 9/11 message

  • Published
  • By Gen. Gary North
  • Commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces
September 11, 2001.

December 7, 1941.

Although separated in time by 60 years, these two dates have a great deal in common. On both days, Americans going about their daily business were attacked on home soil without warning. And afterwards, in both cases, our nation overcame the attacks and came away stronger.

Our nation's key strengths - whether 235, 70 or 10 years ago, are resilience, resolve, and a commitment to our core values and way of life. Since the birth of our nation as the United States of America, we pause to remember the events, and pay respect to those we have lost, and we also pause to recognize, remember and celebrate our national resolve in times of adversity during conflict.

Since September 11, 2001, extraordinary efforts have been made to keep America safe - by first responders and state and local authorities, by law enforcement and the intelligence community and by our diplomats and troops overseas. Here in the Pacific, we have nearly 43,000 Airmen at nine strategic locations, forming the backbone of our nation's capability to respond quickly and decisively to regional security threats and crises. As you are reading this, reflect for a moment on your Airman wingmen standing watch across our theater, enabling regional security and the defense of our homeland. Let's also never forget the nearly 6,200 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who have made the ultimate sacrifice in military operations in the service of our country, or their families, since the 9/11 attacks. All were unyielding in their devotion to keeping America the greatest nation on earth.and keeping us free.

Above all, the anniversary of 9/11 - Patriot Day - is a day to remember those we lost, and to stand with their families and loved ones, as we also recognize that there are those who even today, are seeking to change our way of life.

We must not forget those who lost their lives in the formation of our great nation, or on December 7, 1941, and on 9/11. Each life lost was a friend, a family member, a co-worker, a fellow global citizen. We all understand eternal vigilance is required to protect your collective freedoms. Thank you for your part and Happy Patriot's Day!