FORT DRUM — The 10th Mountain Division came together Friday to remember nearly 3,000 people who died during the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon 20 years ago today.
About 150 soldiers and leaders, members of the Fort Drum fire department and emergency services, along with local law enforcement officers and dignitaries, observed the occasion with a wreath-laying ceremony.
Like he has in previous years, retired Capt. Robert W. Tennies spoke at the ceremony. He spent two days at Ground Zero in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks 20 years ago.
Capt. Tennies, now 52 and retired, was the only member of the Fort Drum Fire Department who went to New York City to join first responders and work on the pile at Ground Zero.
He recalled how the first two planes struck the World Trade Center’s twin towers at 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. on that otherwise sunny summer day, soon followed by the Pentagon being attacked at 9:37 a.m.
Twenty-six minutes later, 40 people aboard Flight 93 died after passengers mounted an attempt to retake their hijacked plane near Shanksville, Pa., he recalled.
While the crowd stood in silence on Friday morning, a wreath was laid at the Sept. 11 monument in front of Clark Hall, where an I-beam from one of the two towers is on display inside.
Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., commander of the 10th Mountain Division, said that all the soldiers who fought against terrorism in the 20 years came forward to volunteer for their country.
“You did what our nation asked you to do and what our nation needed you to do,” he said.
The 10th Mountain Division lost more than 300 soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq during the past 20 years, Gen. Beagle said.
“That’s 15 a year for every year,” he said.