GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — On the memorial ceremonies for the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist assaults, there’s a fixed reminder that the lads alleged to be accountable for plotting the assaults stay detained on the island, with no trial but in sight.
The elevating of the American flag happened Saturday morning at Bulkeley Corridor, the naval headquarters at Guantanamo, because the rising solar introduced a scorching day on the island. The colour ceremony was attended by dozens of uniformed officers, off-duty navy personnel, island guests, 9/11 sufferer relations, and the naval station commander, Capt. Samuel White. Earlier than the flag was raised, the group assembled for photos, and White helped transfer the 9/11 sufferer relations to the entrance of the gang, saying, “What makes this a particular occasion is you being right here — in any other case, it could simply be one other formation.”
Because the Nationwide Anthem performed on speaker techniques, the American flag was raised alongside a inexperienced and white striped New York Police Division and white and crimson New York Hearth Division flag by uniformed sailors and two New York Metropolis firefighters — Coast Guard reservists stationed at Guantanamo. One firefighter instructed the Washington Examiner, “It’s an honor to have the ability to elevate our division’s flag right here.” The opposite stated merely, “It’s an emotional time.”
Shortly after, a 9/11 memorial ceremony was held inside Gitmo’s chapel. Two Guantanamo Bay fireplace vans sat simply exterior the doorway. Behind the chapel, items of the World Commerce Heart had been on show.
A four-person Navy coloration guard marched within the American flag and a Navy flag, and a reside rendition of the nationwide anthem was performed on the saxophone. Video shows contained in the chapel confirmed the long-lasting photograph of the three New York Metropolis firefighters elevating an American flag within the rubble at floor zero on 9/11, and a video scrolled by the names of almost 3,000 individuals who had been killed that day.
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“To the households of those that perished, your loss is what drives us in our mission at this time — and every single day,” a service member operating the service stated.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chaplain Andrew Colvin gave a gap prayer, saying, “Look upon us mercifully, Lord, as we keep in mind this present day and honor victims and heroes of 9/11 — each the lifeless and the residing.”
White, the naval base commander, stated officers didn’t wish to create the Cuban detention heart 20 years in the past, however officers “have a mission that we didn’t search.”
“We didn’t wish to set up a detention facility. That is nothing that anyone awoke on Sept. tenth and determined to do. … When any person elected to do one thing to assault harmless folks on 9/11/2001, that day was not picked by the victims’ households, by the U.S. Navy, by the U.S. Military, by DOD — it was picked by them,” White stated, including naval set up officers “keep in mind 9/11 every single day.”
The sister of New York Hearth Division Capt. William “Billy” Burke, who was final seen attempting to assist paraplegic and wheelchair-bound Ed Beyea and his good friend Abe Zelmanowitz evacuate the North Tower earlier than he died because the constructing collapsed, stated her brother would downplay his function in saving his males’s lives.
“If he had been right here, what he would say is what he did that day was nothing particular,” Elizabeth Berry stated on the chapel Saturday because the video show scrolled by photos of her brother, including later, “If Billy had been right here, he would thanks in your service, and he can be actually honored.”
Berry, a medical psychologist, and her husband, Paul Berry, a retired lawyer, attended this week’s pretrial hearings on the Cuban island warfare courtroom, and in a Friday interview , the couple strongly defended the U.S. authorities’s efforts to attempt the 5 males accused of conspiring and facilitating the assaults.
“While you hear his story, it’s going to sound very brave, and, you understand, it’s iconic, however it’s not distinctive — there have been plenty of heroes that day,” she added.
The twentieth anniversary of 9/11, which comes because the Taliban guidelines Afghanistan as soon as once more , prompted roughly 100 folks, together with victims’ households, prosecution, protection groups, navy members, judicial workers, journalists, and others, to journey to Cuba on a constitution aircraft from Andrews Air Drive Base final Saturday.
Within the twenty years since 19 al Qaeda terrorists hijacked and crashed a number of planes, killing almost 3,000 folks, the 5 males believed to be accountable for the planning and execution of the plot have but to face trial . The important thing unresolved query is the admissibility of confessions obtained by the FBI after the CIA subjected them to “enhanced interrogation methods” — known as “torture” by some.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, dubbed “KSM” and described as “the principal architect of the 9/11 assaults” within the 9/11 Fee Report, was an in depth ally of Osama bin Laden and is being tried alongside 4 co-defendants.
The protection legal professionals within the 9/11 proceedings have been vocal in regards to the case, however the prosecution crew main the hassle hasn’t actually spoken to the press in years, limiting its remarks to the courtroom. Thus, at Guantanamo Bay, getting the phrase out in favor of the navy commissions usually falls to the 9/11 victims’ relations.
“As this anniversary approached, I thought of the place I’d wish to be, and the primary place I thought of was right here. … I’d wish to thank the prosecution crew for working tirelessly to get justice for the households,” Berry stated.
Ciaran Canavan, his spouse Jean, and their 19-year-old son, Liam (who was not but born on 9/11), additionally attended this week’s 9/11 proceedings. Ciaran Canavan’s deceased brother, Sean, was a carpenter working his second day on the 98th flooring of the World Commerce Heart’s South Tower.
Liam Canavan, who says he plans to hitch the Marines, stated the suspected terrorists’ detention on the facility is “the one factor that brings peace to my household.”
“Due to these assaults, I by no means met my uncle Sean, who would’ve been my godfather had I been born earlier than 9/11,” Canavan stated. “The one factor that brings peace to my household is figuring out that the lads accountable for such ache are locked up right here at Guantanamo Bay, and can by no means inflict ache once more — as a direct results of all of the laborious work that occurs right here. … For the twentieth anniversary, it was actually particular to be right here and watch the courtroom proceedings in particular person and really feel it getting nearer to justice.”
“We additionally owe an enormous thanks to the prosecution crew for his or her unrelenting battle to attain justice for each 9/11 sufferer,” he added.
White offered the flags flown at Gitmo to Elizabeth and Paul Berry, to Ciaran and Jean Canavan, and to Liam Canavan, additionally giving him his commander pin.
“I assume each household simply sort of needs to inform their private story,” Canavan stated exterior the chapel. “I used to be born after 9/11. So, it is actually extra my dad and mom’ story of my uncle Sean, who was killed, like hundreds of others. And I assume my level is simply that they cannot be forgotten — and everybody’s story must be heard.”