Fort Hamilton commemorates 9/11 with heartrending ceremony

September 12, 2013 Denise Romano
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The flag flew at half-staff against a clear blue sky over the Fort Hamilton Army Base’s garrison headquarters as it commemorated the 12th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Colonel Eluyn Gines, Fort Hamilton’s garrison commander, recalled the events of that tragic day.

Colonel Eluyn Gines. (BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by SB News)

“For all of us, the events of September 11 will be engrained in our memory. The attacks still feel like yesterday. We will never forget the image of planes flying into the World Trade Center, smoke rising from the Pentagon and heroes in that Pennsylvania field,” Gines said to a crowd of nearly 100 gathered on a lawn under the warm summer sun.

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“Never forget those who raced into burning buildings. Today is the day to honor the extraordinary lives of those we lost,” he went on. “As time passes, we may forget why we have guards here at our gates or why we take our shoes off at the airport. But we will never forget where we were when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked…and the lives lost that day.”

On September 11, 2001, Gines was training in Georgia, but all of his colleagues were at the Pentagon.

“I myself lost an amazing mentor,” he said. “Everyone in my [department at the Pentagon] was killed.”

In the wake of the attacks, Fort Hamilton played a key role in the recovery effort, with thousands positioned at the base.

The flag is taken down from the flagpole during Retreat. (BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by SB News)

Linda Duncan was the afternoon’s keynote speaker. Duncan served as garrison deputy commander at Fort Hamilton from November, 1995 to January, 2009. She has since retired after 31 years of service.

Duncan also recalled the day’s events, noting how diligent and conscientious her employees were.

“Fort Hamilton endured the pain or pushed it back enough to take on the challenge,” she said. “We didn’t know what was going to happen next and we were the only installation in New York City. The next morning a smoke plume came over Fort Hamilton…a sight we will never forget.”

Duncan told stories of how everyone worked together to help others that day and for months afterwards. “Fort Hamilton civilians and soldiers banded together to tackle the unthinkable,” she said.

The commemoration ended with the playing of “Retreat,” which signifies the end of the military day and the blast of a cannon.

Gines was also accepted an Army Superior Unit Award on behalf of Fort Hamilton for their relief efforts between September 11 and November 5, 2001.

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