New York City firefighters work near Ground Zero (Anthony Correia/

Feds, orgs honor 9/11 fallen

Federal employees and organizations representing them joined in over the last week to be part of a wide range of events honoring those who died in the 9/11 attacks.

Across the country, a multitude of events have been held to commemorate the attacks—and to remember those lost in them and the heroes who rushed in to save as many trapped or wounded across the three sites where aircraft were taken down by the 19 hijackers who perpetrated the terrorist assault.

Among these noteworthy gatherings, the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration joined with the nonprofit group Carry The Load, the Partnership for Public Service (PPS) and others, to gather together feds, vets and others among the public at national cemeteries across the country. Their purpose? To bear witness to the fallen, share and remember their stories as well as to place flags and clean headstones—among other mindful activities.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough spoke and participated in the work of tending to graves at one of the Sept. 10 events, held at Quantico National Cemetery.

“You know, it’s about 9:15 a.m.,” McDonough said, in observance of the hour when the World Trade Center towers came under attack and soon collapsed. “That means 20 years ago tomorrow, at almost exactly this time, the world changed forever.”

“There is no way to bring back those we lost that day, or those who died in the post 9/11-wars—no more than we can undo what happened that morning,” he added. “All we can do is honor them. Remember them.”

PPS’s president, Max Stier, also participated directly at the Quantico event, while other of the organization’s staff helped in other cemetery sites across the country. 

Stier made particularly pointed remarks in gratitude to those whose lives were sacrificed that day. 

“What I could not know and did not realize until a fair bit afterward is that I was alive because of 33 people and a bunch of people who were working on an airplane that was flying over Pennsylvania did something to bring that airplane down and to save a lot of lives, including my own,” Stier said.

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