Fort Polk Honors the Memory of Those Who Died on 9-11

September 11 is two days away and at Fort Polk soldiers and civilians paused to remember the terrorist attacks that happened 21 years ago.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey was there and has this report.

Chad Estes has been a Fort Polk Fireman for 25 years.  He remembers where he was when he heard that America was attacked on September 11, 2001.

“We were at one of the other stations in the middle of a meeting.  The phone called and said turn the TV on.  We turned it on just in time to see the second plane hit.  And then everything else as you know was pretty bad, pretty heartfelt. I’ll never forget coming to work the next day, the amount of security here on Fort Polk like I’ve never seen before.”

Brigadier General David W. Gardner delivered the address today at a ceremony to honor the men and women who died on 9-11.  He says while the attacks were horrible it caused Americans to unite like never before.

“I feel like we were obviously in shock on September 11th but I feel like it served to give us an opportunity to unify on September 12 and beyond.  I think we experienced a since of purpose and a common defense of our country after the attacks.”

America declared a global war on terror after that day and Gardner says the most important result of that has been that we haven’t had a foreign terrorist attack on the U.S. since.

“For the war on terror for most of us in uniform I think that the important thing is that we’ve kept attacks of that scale away from the homeland, and that’s really what we’re dedicated to is protecting this great nation at home and abroad.”

The 9-11 Fort Polk memorial honors soldiers from the post who have fallen in the global war on terror The last name engraved was in 2017.

Gardner describes the current state of the war on terror.

“We’re all over the world.  We are wherever we see threats that are growing.  We’re wherever we see that greater security would help repress those threats and keep them from both threatening their own country as well as exporting that terror and that devastation abroad to places like Europe to places like America.  And everyday men and women are serving.  And many of them are serving in the military, but many of them are serving in other forms of government, other non-governmental organizations to try to bring a type of stability that really roots out some of the causes of extremism.”

The general highlighted the sacrifice that first responders in New York made.  Estes describes what it’s like to be a part of that group.

“We don’t think we just respond.  We just go.  Wherever we’re called we just go.  So that’s what those men and women did that morning.  And as a brotherhood that we have in the fire service and first responders we all wanted to leave here at Fort Polk and go help find our brothers that had lost their lives in all that chaos.”

Estes told me how he felt after that day.

“It really made me feel more American at that time we all united under one goal as Americans.  In 21 years I’ve never seen that.”

On 9-11, 2,977 people were killed altogether at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.



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