FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - At 8:46 Wednesday morning, it was silent in front of Clark Hall on Fort Drum as people remembered the moment the first World Trade Center Tower was hit 18 years ago. It was part of a ceremony on post that included a wreath laying in front of a 9/11 memorial.
"That day changed our lives," said Maj. Gen. Brian Mennes commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division.
Most people remember where they were when hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and then another crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
General Mennes was on a plane in the Joint Special Operations Command and Control Center conducting a global counter-terrorism exercise.
"The building was struck and I was on the headphones of the command control center for the nation's counter-terrorism task-force. I thought it was an exercise initially and then we landed in Bosnia. There was a 3 day flight moratorium and then we returned to Fort Bragg and the nation was asking our team to figure out how to strike back and so then, that day and that minute, I started planning and being a part of the war," he said.
It's awar Fort Drum is still fighting today. The 10th Mountain Division, one of the first to go to Afghanistan, has continued to deploy units there and soon the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade will head there.
In remembrance each year, Fort Drum holds the ceremony with Robert Tennies, a now retired captain from the Fort Drum Fire Department, at the microphone. Tennies was deployed to New York City 2 days after the attacks.
"Seeing Ground Zero for the first time in person, it literally took my breath away. It was so hard to see that. But then you look around at the people of New York City welcoming us, giving us tools and water and just thanking us over and over again. It's just, it was very humbling," said Tennies.
While there were first-hand stories of 9/11 on Fort Drum, a generation who doesn't remember 9/11 took part in a ceremony on Jefferson Community College's campus. In 2001, they were 1 to 3 years old.
"We've just been taught this our whole lives," said JCC student John Angus. "You learn it through your elders and you learn it in school every year."
“I volunteer at Redwood Fire Department when I’m not in school and I know what it means to them,” said JCC student Victor Wallace. "I come every year because to honor those who have fallen due to this attack and to honor people who serve our community.
So whether it’s something you’ll never forget or a day you weren’t old enough to remember, everyone agrees it’s important to pause and reflect on 9/11.