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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

U.S. Special Forces, Philippine Service members honor the fallen during 9/11 observance

ZAMBOANGA CITY- Members of Joint Special Operations Task Force -Philippines held a ceremony Sunday, observing the 10th anniversary of the events of 11 September 2001.

Members of the Philippine Security Forces joined U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen in recalling the events that were instrumental in the creation of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“Ten years ago, our nation and the Western democratic way of life was attacked, blood was shed, nations mobilized, battle lines drawn and our lives were changed forever,” said U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Shane McKenzie during the opening of the ceremony.

Master Chief McKenzie and the JSOTF-P Chaplain, U.S. Army Maj. David Lile, recalled the events as they occurred 10 years ago today.

“ Eight forty-six and twenty-six seconds: Flight 11 crashes at roughly 466 miles per hour into the north face of One World Trade Center, between floors 93 and 99,” read Chaplain Lile.

After the recollection of events, JSOTF-P members shared personal testimonies.

“Ten years ago, I was in high school and we were watching the events unfold on TV,” recalled one U.S. service member. “My Aunt was in the World Trade Center, that day … She was taken away.”

People from many nations lost their lives that day. JSOTF-P leaders said the ceremony not only honors the fallen, but is a reminder to those who currently serve.

“September 11th was the worst of days, and we remember those fallen on that day, those who served on that day and every day since then,” said U.S. Army Colonel Fran Beaudette, JSOTF-P Commander. “Today is the best of days. We get to do what we do … To continue our nation’s bidding, and continue to help our partners who are focused on the cause of freedom.”

U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines was established in 2002 to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines in their fight against trans-national terrorism in the southern Philippines.