FT. GORDON, Ga. (WJBF) – An emotional day at Fort Gordon on every anniversary of September 11, 2001. Military members and others gathered near the Signal Tower on the post to honor those lost in the terrorist attacks. As well as the first responders who risked it all to save lives.
“It has impacted all of us. It’s been important to me ever since it happened because I was currently serving in the military during that time,” said Sergeant Major (SGM) Joseph Leggett.
SGM Leggett Leggett is one of the many people who organize the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at Fort Gordon. He also leads the 9/11 Ruck March where soldiers march for two straight days in teams of three on post while carrying a 40-pound backpack, M-4 rifle, and the American Flag.
“Me and my team, Alpha Company 304, planned it back in 2011 I just knew that this event when we planned it, was the right event to pay homage and reflect on those instances back then,” explained SGM Leggett.
The last of the service members in the Ruck March crossed the finish line just before the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony got underway Wednesday morning. Service members and first responders standing side by side in solitude.
Ft. Gordon Garrison Commander Colonel Jim Clifford addressed the crowd. He said, “I think former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said it best, the attacks of September 11th were meant to break our spirit instead we emerge stronger and more unified.”
Cannons were fired in coordination to the times when planes hit the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crash landing of Flight United 93.
“Honestly for me, it made me want to be a fireman. It made me want to join the service. It’s almost unfathomable that could happen on American soil,” said Ft. Gordon Firefighter and EMT Scott Westmoreland.
Westmoreland’s fellow firefighter and EMT Sam Potts added, “I watched it on the news and it just kind of lit a fire inside of me. I just wanted to serve, to join the military so I became a fireman. 9/11 just every year, that fire lights back up and just makes me want to continue my service.”
SGM Legget said, “Being from New York, from the Bronx, seeing those towers get hit by those planes, and how I felt, I was hurt. I felt like it was a blow to myself. I was wondering if I had any family. I didn’t lose any family members in the attacks itself but I’ve lost a lot of military comrades due to the effects of it.”