15 years later, effects of 9/11 still fresh at Fort Bragg
Posted September 9, 2016 12:30 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 1:38 p.m. EDT
Fayetteville, N.C. — Few communities in our country have sacrificed more since Sept. 11, 2001 than Fort Bragg and Fayetteville.
Hundreds of soldiers from the base have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq; thousands more have been injured. In the past 15 years, there have been service members who have deployed eight, nine, 10 times.
Today, Fort Bragg paused to remember that day when everything changed: Taps was performed on the main post parade field for a remembrance ceremony, and wreaths were laid.
A narrator read the cold, hard facts from that September morning in 2001, using military times for the planes crashing:
And the exactly number of deaths that day: 2,996 men, women and children.
Major General Clayton Hutmacher served as guest speaker, keeping his written remarks brief.
Among the most poignant remarks, though, came from a Fayetteville native, Spc. William Clayton, who was eight years old on the morning when everything changed, and his life course was set.
"Family tradition, for one, but after 9/11 happened I was pretty much determined to join the military and do my portion," Clayton said. "Growing up, we all learned that if you really love something and want to protect something, you fight for what you're trying to protect."
The ceremony then included the firing of a gun volley.
At Fort Bragg, thousands of soldiers have come into the ranks in the last decade and a half, knowing full well they'd be going to the battlefield.
Sept. 11 drove them to a sense of duty, and thousands of those troops are still in Afghanistan.
There are new menaces, too—the so-called Islamic State, for one.
Fort Bragg knows well that the sacrifices from 9/11 are still being made.