IWAKUNI MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Japan — Two years ago tomorrow, terrorists murdered thousands in the United States by flying commercial airliners into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

The almost unbelievable loss of life and mayhem on Sept. 11, 2001, resulted in the deaths of 3,016 people, according to an August 2003 report in The New York Times, and served to motivate the United States to declare war on terrorists of all persuasions around the world.

At Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, “we decided here not to hold a memorial service just to remember those who died in the 9/11 attacks, but also those who have died since then in the war on terrorism,” explained Lt. j.g. Stephen Coates, a Protestant chaplain at Iwakuni, in southwestern Japan.

Iwakuni’s memorial service is to be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the base chapel; for more information, call 253-5218. It’s one of several services and other observances being held at U.S. facilities throughout the Pacific.

“This is important … because the rights we all hold self-evident have been violated. People that day were violated against their will, and even violated unknowingly,” Coates told Stars and Stripes on Monday.

“So, it is important that we remember that loss due to those atrocities,” he said, “and also to remember the subsequent sacrifices made by those who knowingly laid down their lives in the fight against terrorism during the operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.”

The passage of time can numb the memories even of those impacted by such tragedy. “Even two years later, services like this remind us to maintain our sensitivity to these sacrifices,” Coates said.

Services and other events at U.S. bases in the Pacific include:

Japanese mainland

Yokosuka Naval Base is to hold a base-wide moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. Thursday. At the same time, in front of the Chiefs Club, the Chief Petty Officers Association is to hold a wreath-laying ceremony. A silent prayer vigil is set for the base chapel, which will be open from 8:46 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Camp Zama is to hold a requiem at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Zama Chapel to remember the 9/11 attack victims. The hourlong event is anticipated to be a somber, musical dedication, featuring the U.S. Army Japan Band and a 30-member Japanese choir. Several individuals who were at the Pentagon when it was attacked will read short moment-by-moment narratives. For more information call DSN 263-8500.

Atsugi Naval Air Facility is to hold a memorial service at 11 a.m. Thursday in the base chapel for the attack victims. The facility’s executive officer will speak, and a moment of silence will be held outside by the Garden of the Good Shepherd, dedicated last year on the first anniversary of the attacks. Monday, the base information channel began airing a video listing names of all killed in the terrorist attacks, plus servicemembers killed in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. On the video, local schoolchildren read information about 10 randomly selected victims and military members. For more information, call DSN 264-4452.

Yokota Air Base near Tokyo tentatively plans a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday at the flagpole in front of the 374th Airlift Wing Headquarters. Base commander Col. Mark Schissler is to speak. For more information, call DSN 225-8833.

As of deadline, no reported command events were scheduled at Sasebo Naval Base in southern Japan, or Misawa Air Base in the north.


Marine Corps base chaplains are offering memorial observances Thursday at the following locations and times: Camp Foster Community Center, 9 a.m.; Camp Futenma Base Theater, 9 a.m.; Camp Kinser Base Chapel, 7 a.m.; Camp Courtney Base Chapel, 11 a.m. For further information call the chapel at Camp Foster at DSN 645-7486, Futenma at DSN 636-3058, Kinser at DSN 637-1148 or Courtney at DSN 622-9350.

At DODDS Pacific Headquarters on Torii Station, an American flag flown over the Pentagon during 2002’s 9/11 remembrances is to be on display. It’s one of three flags flown over the Pentagon that day and subsequently sent to DOD American schools in the Pacific, Europe and the United States.

All 43 DODDS schools in the Pacific flew the flag sent to this theater. It now is encased in a shadow box with a plaque engraved with the schools’ names, said Mary Hibbs, DODDS Pacific spokeswoman.

DODDS schools are working commemorations in their curricula in various ways, including:

¶ At Kadena Air Base, the 85-voice Kadena High School Choral Music Program and Kadena High JROTC Honor Guard at Kadena Air Base will perform “In Remembrance …” at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Kadena High Auditorium. It’s to include singing, patriotic readings and an address by Chaplain Richard Tatum. For more information call Timothy Black at DSN 634-1216. At Stearley Heights Elementary School, all students and teachers have been encouraged to wear red, white and blue on Thursday. Also planned are additional activities such as writing poems and singing songs related to the subject, and a morning moment of silence followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

¶ Camp Foster’s E.C. Killin Elementary School has declared Thursday Patriotic Day. Students are encouraged to “think about our country,” a school official stated via e-mail. “Our students wrote about ‘I am proud to be an American because… .’” Many of the essays are displayed on a large bulletin board.

¶ The Parent Teacher Organization is making patriotic pins for each student and faculty member to wear or pin on their book bag.

“We will ask the students to write about ‘I Love the American Flag because… ,’” the school official wrote. For the youngest children, an AFN journalist will speak at a Patriotic Day assembly in the cafeteria from 8:40 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. From 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., Carl Hodges from the Base Inspector’s office is to speak at another assembly slated for students in grades 4-6.

South Korea

Yongsan Garrison plans a “Tribute to Freedom” memorial service at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the South Post Chapel. The chapel will open at 8 a.m. for prayer throughout the day. For more information, call DSN 738-7354.

Kunsan Air Base will hold two memorial services at the main chapel. The first will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday; the second, at 6 p.m. For more information, call DSN 782-4705.

Camp Red Cloud held a memorial service Tuesday in the Camp Red Cloud Chapel. The service was held before 9/11 because of the Korean Chusok holiday, which falls on Sept. 11 this year.

David Allen, Joe Giordono, Juliana Gittler, Sharen Shaw Johnson and Jennifer H. Svan contributed to this report.

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