9/11 remembrances begin: Panetta visits Ground Zero, Shanksville rained out
WASHINGTON – Kicking off a week of 10-year anniversary remembrances on Monday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is visiting New York City and Shanksville, Pa., with troops who joined the military after the attacks on September 11, 2001.
While NYC undoubtedly will receive the bulk of attention this week, there are several 9/11 events planned at the Pentagon, which some feel has become nearly forgotten in the wall-to-wall media blitz already underway.
Panetta has several 9/11 commemoration events on his calendar, including on Friday a breakfast with “first responders” from Northern Virginia who were involved in the Pentagon 9-11 rescue and recovery efforts, and a noon Pentagon courtyard ceremony with Vice Chairman JCS Adm. James Winnefeld and other senior officials.
On Friday evening, Panetta will speak at the National Cathedral’s concert, which will featuring a Brahms’ Requiem in honor of 9/11 victims as well as the more than 6,000 servicemembers who have died since, in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to DOD.
As you consider your own ways to remember that awful day, here’s a wonderful article that looks back into the archives to discover America’s surprisingly different behavior on the 10th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
UPDATE Sept. 6, 2011: Due to bad weather, Panetta canceled his visit to Shanksville and was returning to the Pentagon directly from NYC, according to AP's Bob Burns. Panetta's traveling party and press flew from the Pentagon in an Osprey, the tilt-rotor helo-plane, as the East Coast was buried under rain clouds, remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.
Here are the bios of those troops traveling with Panetta, on Monday:
Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Celko
United States Army
SSG Celko enlisted in the Army in 2004 and deployed twice with the 10th Mountain Division 4th base support team battalion out of Fort Polk, LA. During his first deployment to Afghanistan in 2006, SSG Celko's unit conducted route reconnaissance and clearance operations in Ghazni Province from FOBs Wolverine and Warrior. His primary role was a M240B Gunner. During his Iraq deployment from November 2007 to January 2009, he was Squad Leader and a Husky vehicle driver operating from FOB Loyalty east of Baghdad. He is from Middlesex, New Jersey.
Lt. Adam C. Jones
United States Navy
LT Jones enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy in 2002 and earned his commission in 2006 -- the first class to enroll after 9/11. He was selected to the surface warfare community and served two tours: the first aboard the Seventh Fleet flagship, the USS Blue Ridge operating in the 7th Fleet, and the second as an Electronic Warfare Officer deployed with the 2-1 Calvary Brigade in Kirkuk, Iraq. He is from Annapolis, Maryland.
Sgt. Carlos A. Tovar
United States Marine Corps
SGT Tovar enlisted in the Marine Corps in March 2008. He deployed to Iraq in January 2009 where he served with the Marine Transport and Refueler Squadron 252. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela he became a U.S. citizen while serving in the Marine Corps. He is from Orlando, Florida and is also a 1st degree Black Belt.
Staff Sgt. Robert Gutierrez, Jr.
United States Air Force
SSgt Gutierrez enlisted in the Air Force in 2002 following graduation from Southwestern Community College. He deployed to Africa in support of Marine and Navy special operations elements and twice to Afghanistan where he was responsible for directing airstrikes in support of Army Special Forces. SSgt Gutierrez received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor and was selected as one of twelve Outstanding Airmen of the Year in 2010; he was wounded by enemy fire on his second deployment. He is from Chula Vista, California.
Lt. Nikea L. Natteal
United States Coast Guard
LT Natteal graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2006, the first class to enroll following 9/11. She has served aboard the USCGC Boutwell home-ported in Alameda, California where she participated in the seizure of illegal fishing vessels. She has also served as an Intelligence Watch and Warning Officer in support of Coast Guard surface assets serving under the direction of the Navy's 6th Fleet and has overseen intelligence operations during Operation Southeast Watch following the earthquake in Haiti. She is from Yuma, Arizona.