Governor joins Va. Guard at 9/11 memorial service

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Adam K. Thiel join Virginia National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and civilian employees at a memorial ceremony Sept. 11, 2014, at the Mullins Armory in Sandston, Va., to commemorate the victims who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After remarks from Williams and McAuliffe, the U. S. and Virginia flags were lowered to half-staff, followed by a moment of silence and a brief reception in the armory. (Photos by Staff Sgt. Miko M. Skerrett, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Adam K. Thiel join Virginia National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and civilian employees at a memorial ceremony Sept. 11, 2014, at the Mullins Armory in Sandston, Va., to commemorate the victims who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After remarks from Williams and McAuliffe, the U. S. and Virginia flags were lowered to half-staff, followed by a moment of silence and a brief reception in the armory. (Photos by Staff Sgt. Miko M. Skerrett, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. — The Virginia National Guard hosted a memorial ceremony at Joint Force Headquarters in Sandston, Va., on Sept. 11, 2014, to commemorate those who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, led the ceremony which included remarks from Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the lowering of the U.S. and state flag to half-staff.

“Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil in our nation’s history,” said Williams. “Most of us carry the memories of what we were doing that day, and it plays a large part in what we’ve done to this day as public servants, Soldiers and Airmen.”

Williams mentioned the changes that the Virginia National Guard has experienced since 9/11.

“During those thirteen years, just as our nation has evolved and healed, our military and especially the National Guard have grown in its abilities and resilience,” he added. “This is reflected in the fact that we have mobilized more Virginia National Guardsman, approximately 15,000 Soldiers and Airmen, since World War II. In fact, it surpasses that.

“We stand ready to meet the challenges of today and the future. And on this observance of Patriot Day, 2014, we must continue to honor the legacy of the victims who lost their lives that day, their families, and their loved ones,” said Williams.

Following the Adjutant General, McAuliffe shared his experiences during the attacks. Working from an office next to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., McAuliffe watched in horror as he saw the smoke flowing out of the Pentagon.

“Let us never forget what happened on 9/11,” said McAuliffe. “Let us never forget those men and women who put on the [military] uniform every single day to protect this great nation and to protect this great Commonwealth.”

Three Virginia National Guard Soldiers then raised both the U.S. and state flag quickly to the top of the staff, then slowly down to half-staff. The participants then bowed their heads in a moment of silence. The ceremony was followed by a small reception in Mullins Armory, where attendees met and shared experiences over coffee and snacks.

Also in attendance were Virginia’s First Lady, Dorothy McAuliffe, and Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Adam K. Thiel. This was the first stop of the day for the governor and his staff.

Since September 11, 2001, more than 15,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized on federal active duty for combat operations, peacekeeping and homeland security missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and other locations around the world.

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