MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines, first responders and members from the community gathered to share a moment of silence, remembrance and reflection for the victims of the 9/11 attacks at the Lejeune Memorial Gardens on Marines Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 11.
The Patriot Day Observance Ceremony is an event held annually with support from members of the Onslow Civic Affairs Committee and first responders in the local community.
"This memorial, to me, is a time to reflect on the families that are left behind and what they must be going through," said Jeffrey Williams, retired captain with the Jacksonville Fire Department. "Every year I try to do my part to help families heal their reopened wounds and let them know their loved ones aren’t forgotten."
The ceremony began with a prayer before colors were presented and the national anthem was played by the 2nd Marine Division Band.
Marines and first responders then held pictures of the fallen of both 9/11 and the global war on terror as their lives were described to the audience.
"I want people to remember that the liberties we have are not free," said Williams. "They come at the cost of the sacrifice of our military, men, women and our first responders like fire fighters and police officers."
After honoring the lives of the fallen, a moment of silence was held before multiple police vehicles sounded their sirens to honor the many police officers and firefighters who charged into the burning buildings that day.
"Tragedies have a way of unifying us and they helped us see that we stand on common ground despite the horrific suffering, especially, on that day 15 years ago," said the narrator. "The outpouring of pride and strength we have in our country after surviving the attacks paved the path for compassion and unity exemplified by those who sang ‘God Bless America’."