AF leaders honor those who lost lives, loved ones on 9/11, fighting terrorism

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy issued the following message to the Airmen of the U.S. Air Force:

September 11, 2011, marks the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent people - at the World Trade Center; at Shanksville, Pa.; and at the Pentagon - and affected the lives of countless others across our great country and beyond. In all, 90 countries lost citizens, and people the world over would condemn these acts of terrorism.

This tragic event altered our view of the world and sparked a global effort to combat terrorism and the conditions that give rise to extremism. We are proud of the international efforts that have led to the capture or killing of many of the terrorist leaders, but our success has not come without significant cost. As we reflect on the horrific day that marked the beginning of our struggle to better secure the world from these threats, we honor the tremendous selfless service that today still distinguishes American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, comprising the most dedicated, professional and powerful military force in the world. We also recognize that the need for sacrifice is not over.

We sincerely thank you and your families for what you have done for your country to date, and thank you in advance for bravely facing our future challenges. Please take a moment this day to reflect on the tragic losses of September 11, 2001, as well as the losses and wounds that we have suffered in our campaign to maintain security for our Nation since that fateful day. Today, we also remember the families and friends of the lost and wounded, who bear the heaviest burden, whose loneliness we seek to ease, and whose sacrifice we hold in the highest regard.