Pentagon attack hero praises military during 9/11 ceremony

'This generation and the service of today’s enlisted soldier, at an average age of 27, has been defined by 911 and its aftermath'

wcrenshaw@macon.comSeptember 10, 2011 

WARNER ROBINS -- During a ceremony Friday recognizing the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, a survivor of the attack on the Pentagon praised the work of America’s military in responding to the nation’s call.

Hundreds attended the Robins Air Force Base ceremony held at the Museum of Aviation where Army Brig. Gen. Larry Dudney spoke.

Dudney was in his office fewer than 220 yards from the point where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. He won two medals for his efforts to rescue colleagues in the aftermath of the attack.

He gave his remarks standing just a few feet from a flag-draped piece of the building recovered from the rubble.

His talk focused on those who have served in the military since the attack, or what he called “the 911 generation.”

He said 5 million Americans have served in the military in the past decade, including 3 million who have joined since the attack, knowing they could be put in harm’s way.

“This generation and the service of today’s enlisted soldier, at an average age of 27, has been defined by 911 and its aftermath,” he said. “This generation has faced as much adversity as any generation before it.”

He also said their experience in the military will make them leaders in ensuring America’s future even as they leave to enter other occupations.

At the end of the ceremony, the audience stood while Robins honor guard members removed the flag from the Pentagon artifact, which will go on display at the Air Force Reserve Command headquarters at Robins.

Earlier in the day, the artifact was transported across the base as workers lined the roadway in recognition of the victims of Sept. 11 and the sacrifice of those who have served in the military since then.

The Air Force Reserve Command served as host of the ceremony. Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner, Air Force Reserve Command commander, followed Dudney and credited the military with preventing another attack over the past decade.

“We know they have not been idle in their efforts,” he said. “Americans have given their lives to protect the innocent from an enemy that places no value on human life.”

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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