As we came together yesterday to mark the remembrance of the terrorist actions that occurred on our soil 20 years ago, we remembered the 2,977 lives lost and the more than 6,000 others that were injured. Everyone remembers where they were on that fateful day, the same as the generations that came before us remembered Pearl Harbor. It is a remembrance that will remain in our hearts and minds.
We came together yesterday to remember the 23 NYC Police Officers, the 343 NYC Firefighters and the 37 Port Authority Officers, along with the K-9, Sirius, that was lost trying to rescue those that were trapped or injured. Since 9-11 the United States has been in a war on terror around the globe, sending our young men and women to places they made have never heard of in a pre-9-11 society.
On October 7, 2001, the United States Armed Forces invaded Afghanistan along with 30 other Nations that signed on and sent military personnel in support of the attacks that occurred in our country. Since 9-11, we have sent our military to service in actional offenses in 29 countries and in 6 seas and gulfs. They include the following: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Guantanamo Bay Cuba, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Oman, Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Gulf of Oman.
As of September 5, 2021, we have had 5,474 service members killed in action, 1,600 non-hostile deaths and 53,307 wounded in action. And those numbers do not include the invisible injuries our troops have endured, the anguish that cannot be seen but impact many. As of June, of this year, it is estimated that 30,177 active-duty members and Veterans have died by suicide post-9-11. Our service members and their families have endured great sacrifices since this great country of ours was founded. Let us never forget those sacrifices.
Let me quote President George W. Bush. “A great people has been moved to defend a great Nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we are the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining”.
May God bless all our Veterans and troops still in action today. And bless our politicians, current and future, to remember the costs of war include not only our military personnel but also their families and the communities from which they come.
May God bless the United States of America.
Paul R. Speigle - Commander
National Sons of AMVETS