Photo and story by Angele Latham / Contributing Writer
Students, faculty and Murfreesboro residents gathered early Tuesday morning for MTSU’s fourth annual 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at the Veterans Memorial outside of the Tom H. Jackson building on campus.
The ceremony marks the 17th anniversary of a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks in the United States by the extremist group al-Qaida. This event remains the single deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history.
Amidst the quiet hush of the still-sleeping campus and fittingly bleak weather, retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber opened the ceremony with a quiet prayer and a promise to never forget those lost on that fateful day.
ROTC cadets, dressed in their formal uniforms, stood somberly at the edge of the ceremony as they took turns coming forward and recounting the order in which the tragedies occurred.
One cadet recounted where he was when the news of the attack broke and rather poignantly summarized the emotions of the cadets around him by saying that he never forgot the atrocities that day.
Aside from the cadet speakers, also in attendance were Department of Military Science Chair and U.S Army Maj. Carrick McCarthy and Gold Star parents Tammy Bass and Jan Edens. The ‘Gold Star’ title is an epitaph only given to the family members of a relative lost in military service. The Gold Star parents presented a visceral look at the loss suffered by families since 9/11. Bass’ son, U.S. Marine Cpl. David Bass, was killed in action, while Edens’ stepson, U.S. Army Spc. Jason Edens, died from wounds he received in Afghanistan.
Bass and Edens both spoke about their sons’ service and the impact that 9/11 had on their lives. Sept. 11, 2018, marks the first time in U.S. history that U.S. armed forces recruits will be serving in a war that started before they were born. The testimonies of these two mothers and every other speaker who stepped forward helps to remind the public every year what it means to remember, to sacrifice and to serve.
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