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Ft. Drum ceremony marks 10 years after

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As the nation marked the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, yesterday, a formal ceremony was held at Ft. Drum to remember the victims and the 10 years of military action that followed that day's events.

The morning ceremony took place outside the post's Mark W. Clark Hall, where a monument memorializes 9/11. Joanna Richards was there and has the story.

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Joanna Richards
Watertown Correspondent

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Two firetrucks with their ladders aloft held a huge American flag above the monument, which was flanked by rows of civilian and military police. An ambulance and a police car represented the other emergency services. As the time of the first plane's impact approached, a bagpiper led a small group of dignitaries as they placed a large wreath at the monument.

"At zero eight forty-six on September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 impacted Tower One of the World Trade Center, commencing a sequence of events that shocked the world and started the global war on terrorism. Today, we remember those who lost their lives on that fateful day, and those who continue to support the eradication of terrorism."

A modest crowd of a few dozen soldiers and civilians watch from a small hill overlooking the memorial site. Major Colette Moses is here in civilian dress with her mother and daughter. She's the logistics officer for the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team and has served two deployments since 9/11, one to Iraq and one to Kuwait.

"You know, I'm just looking back and I'm like wow, it's 10 years already. But you know, to know that there's still some work we have to do out there. And I think, you know, a lot of people don't understand the importance of why we're deployed. We don't like leaving our family and our friends, but it's required. And also to eradicate, as they said, terrorism. To make the world a better place, not just for us, but for our kids and their kids."

Among the firefighters here today from Fort Drum's department is Stephen Jellie, deputy fire chief. He has an emergency responder's perspective on the anniversary. "It's also a good day to remember that all of our brother firefighters, those that passed away and those that didn't, saved a lot of lives that day. We talk a lot about the people that were lost and remembering them, but it's also, I think, a great day to remember the people that we did save and the people that did survive that horrendous attack."

As the crowd begins to gather closer to the memorial, one soldier stands alone behind the rest at the top of the hill. He declines to give his name, but says he's from Long Island and lost two friends in the attacks. He says he deployed to the World Trade Center site the day after the towers collapsed, and he later served two tours in Iraq.

The soldier says it's hard to believe 10 years have passed. He's glad the country is, “not giving up until the job is done. That's really, really about it. Makes me proud. That this wasn't some kind of half-assed effort. That we're gonna see it through. 'Cause all the victims of 9/11 deserve nothing less."

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