FORT DRUM A memorial ceremony on post Wednesday morning for the victims of 9/11 brought back tough memories for Peter J. Dougan, a member of the Fort Drum Directorate of Emergency Services.
He said he was getting ready for a job interview that 2001 morning, when news broke of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Needless to say, that job interview got cut short, Mr. Dougan said.
With his National Guard unit activated shortly after the attacks, he found himself in the middle of New York Citys recovery efforts for about two weeks, providing security and escorts.
It was just a lot of debris; a hard smell of burnt flesh, debris, Mr. Dougan said. Its kind of something thats not really pleasant to be around.
He admitted that he had mixed feelings when he learned he would be a part of Wednesdays ceremony, which took place in front of Clark Hall.
I really dont like to relive the things that we did for the two weeks that we were down there, Mr. Dougan said.
However, he said the event has made him thankful for the work of military service members. Mr. Dougan, who already was interested in law enforcement work when the terrorists attacked, said the events of that day affirmed his planned career choice.
The short ceremony included the laying of a wreath at a 9/11 memorial in front of the building and the ringing of bells representing the times the four hijacked planes crashed that day; the fourth went down in a field near Shanksville, Pa. Dozens of military and civilian police and emergency crews stood in formation Wednesday, as a large American flag was held up by the ladders of two Fort Drum Fire Department trucks.
Robert W. Tennies, a captain at the Fort Drum Fire Department and at the time a part-time worker at Guilfoyle Ambulance, was in New York City with a group of area volunteers who traveled to ground zero at the World Trade Center to help.
He spent a few days amid the wreckage, in a scene he described as like a war zone.
Looking back on the attack and its aftermath, he said the combined emergency response made him proud of the people who were there.
It just does your heart good to see that a country, and a fire service, and police, and EMS all came together for one goal, one task that day, and they worked side by side together, he said.
In addition to the leadership of the 10th Mountain Division, also in attendance at the ceremony was Lt. Gen. James L. Terry, former division commanding general, now commander of Third Army and the Army Service Component of U.S. Central Command.
Also at the memorial was Sgt. Glenn A. Follett, a New York Army National Guardsman who finished a march of more than 80 miles from Syracuse on Wednesday morning. Several of the top brass at the ceremony, including Gen. Terry and division Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Merritt, met with Sgt. Follett in front of the memorial after the ceremony.
Video from the ceremony can be seen at http://wdt.me/G5HdsW.
The posts ceremony was one of several during the day. Jefferson Community Colleges remembrance included a performance of The Star-Spangled Banner by Nellys Echo. At Thompson Park, soldiers of the divisions 1st Brigade Combat Team did a run on the parks stairs, climbing one step for each of the 2,996 victims.