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General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, made the following address at the Pentagon:
“Mr. President, Mrs. Trump, Secretary Mattis, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests, and most importantly, to the family and friends of the fallen, and to those gathered here who survived the attack on the Pentagon, good morning.
It’s an honour to join you as we pause to reflect [on] all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. At this ceremony, we are particularly mindful of the 184 who died here in the halls of the Pentagon and aboard Flight 77.
16 years ago when terrorists attacked the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and as they attempted other attacks in Washington D.C., they did so with a sense of purpose. They were attacking symbols that reflect our way of life and our values. The terrorists believed that these attacks would shake our commitment to those values, and as President Bush said hours after the attacks, the terrorists thought they could frighten us into chaos and retreat – but they were wrong.
Instead of retreat, the tragedy of 9/11 produced in us an unyielding resolve. Instead of hopelessness, our morning turned into action, and we have strengthened our commitment to the idea that the freedom of many should never be endangered by the hatred of a few.
So this morning, as we recall the events of 911, it’s appropriate for those of us still serving to remember and honour those who died, those who continue suffering from injuries, and those left behind. But if we truly want to honour those remembered today, each of us will walk away from this ceremony with a renewed sense of commitment to our values and the cause of freedom. Each of us will walk away from this simple ceremony reminded that the war is not over, and that further sacrifice will be required; and each of us will walk away with resolve to strengthen our personal commitment to protect our family, friends, and fellow citizens from another 9/11.”