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BY:               Derek Gean, Community editor


Community members pause for prayer during the Fort Leonard Wood Patriot Day observance Monday at MSCoE plaza.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – The sound of bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” throughout Fort Leonard Wood’s Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Plaza seemed to bring a  sentiment of remembrance and solidarity as more than 110 community members gathered to remember the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Monday.

The Fort Leonard Wood Religious Support Office hosted the ceremony marking 16 years since that fateful day.

“On this day…, 19 terrorists hijacked four U.S. commercial airplanes and flew them into two U.S. World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) John Manuel, deputy garrison chaplain.

Manuel said 2,977 lives were lost on that day, ranging from age 2 to 85. Since then, there have also been 3,540 U.S. and allied service member combat deaths in Afghanistan and 20,000 wounded.

“For those of us standing here today, those are more than just statistics, they are real lives, friends, fellow Soldiers and their Families forever impacted.”

“Our task today is to remember the lives of those lost on that day and since that day so that we might be steadfast in our resolve to continue serving and sacrificing for a stronger nation and a more free and just world,” Manuel said.

Following the opening remarks several chaplains offered scripture readings and prayers for the nation.

Chap. (Lt. Col.) Dave Bowlus, MSCoE and garrison chaplain, offered his thoughts on the “generation defining” event.

“The most challenging moments in life can also be the most defining. Do you remember where you were, and what you were doing?” Bowlus asked.

“It’s hard to believe that 16 years ago today, the ultimate price was paid by 2,977 patriots.

The cost has not been light since 9/11. Many of us here today have friends, Family members or both that were killed or wounded in the Global War on Terror and the operations that followed.” Bowlus remarked how 9/11 defined a generation just as the attacks on Pearl Harbor in World War II.

“Today we choose to remember and not forget. Today we honor our heroes and we remember our patriots who died on Sept. 11, 2001 and all who have paid the cost since that day. As we continue to serve in this unique and challenging time 16 years after 9/11, we must never forget the patriots who came before us.

Thank you Fort Leonard Wood, Soldiers, civilians, Airmen, Sailors and Marines, for your role in continuing to shoulder that cause. The cost of 9/11 was incredibly significant.”

Following Bowlus’s remarks, the crowd observed a moment of silence and the  ceremony concluded with prayer.