(FORT STEWART) –U.S. Army Soldiers and civilians of the 3rd Infantry Division, alongside Fort Stewart police and fire emergency services personnel, held a 9/11 “Patriot Day” Remembrance Ceremony at the Alwyn Cashe Memorial Garden on Fort Stewart, Georgia, Sept. 10, 2021, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Hosted by 3rd ID’s command team, Maj. Gen. Charles Costanza and Command Sgt. Maj. Quentin Fenderson, the event focused on encouraging Soldiers to take time to personally reflect on the service and sacrifices of the people lost, and to share in the response and resilience of the survivors and the United States.
“As I drove in this morning on the back road, I saw the pictures of the 2,977 people we lost on September 11; 412 of them were first responders,” said Costanza. “So as we talk about why tomorrow is Patriot Day, it is because of service. For all of our first responders that are here today, thank you for your service. Thank you for what you do. Service is more than just this uniform,” he said, pointing at his own Army uniform. “For a lot of it, it's about you.”
Costanza encouraged attendees to reflect on the service members that lost their lives fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11.
Many Soldiers attribute the heroic efforts they witnessed on 9/11 and afterward as their inspiration for serving in the military. Costanza said young service members personally inspire him, emphasizing emergency services member, Pfc. Lucas Williams, age 19, who was not even born at the time of the terrorist attacks. Williams serves as a firefighter on Fort Stewart and assisted Fire Chief Steven Kelly during the ceremony in laying a wreath in honor of firefighters and emergency medical personnel.
Laying a wreath in honor of police officers was Lt. Col. Craig Giancaterino, the commander of the 385th Military Police Battalion and the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield Police Chief, Bart Knoch.
The 3rd ID command team laid the final wreath in honor of Soldiers and civilians lost in the attacks.
September 11, 2001, changed more than the skyline of New York City; the attacks changed a generation of Americans, the Army and the world.
At the time of the attacks, Fenderson was serving in Manhattan as an Army recruiter with the New York City Recruiting Battalion. He was in the city that day with another recruiter from the Air Force and their government vehicle was parked in one of the Twin Towers. He recounted running from the site and assisting others lost in the chaos as they made their way on foot to their own headquarters located miles away. Covered in dust and having worn through the Army dress shoes he was wearing, Fenderson remembers helping others while still trying to understand the scope of what was happening around them.
The ceremony included a firing party, moment of silence, the playing of taps, laying of wreaths and the ringing of a ceremonial bell from Fort Stewart Fire Station 1 in sequence with a reading of the timeline of tragic events of 9/11. Early Friday morning, participants of the Fort Stewart 9/11 Remembrance Run rang the bell as they completed the race.