Battle Creek, Michigan –
Defense Logistics Agency employees and other members of the workforce in the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center gathered for a 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony and shared their memories of that fateful day in 2001.
Lorn Morden, local Business and Administrative Services chief for DLA Installation Operations, spoke for Don Phillips, director for DLA Installation Management - Operations Battle Creek. Morden was working in the private sector when it happened. He said he had just been promoted and was meeting with his supervisor on what the new job would entail when the initial aircraft hit in New York.
“Initially I was confused … didn’t know if it was a small Cessna or what sort of accident it might have been, and then I saw the TV and realized it was not. My life changed that day like many of yours,” Morden said.
Morden was serving in the Air Force Reserve then and continues to serve today. Since the attacks he has deployed four times. After his remarks, Morden invited others in the audience to share.
Jon Tew, a Pathways to Career Excellence program member, was working in a supply room at the time. He was a new platoon leader in the National Guard and “knew right away this was going to become real.” He deployed three time with his soldiers and felt fortunate to bring them all back home.
“The events of that day are important for the perspective they provide on what DLA does to help keep troops ready,” Tew said.
For Ray Zingaretti, Logistics Information Services director, it was not just about remembering what he did that day. He said he believed it was important to remember how people came together that day.
“We were not divided by ideology. We were Americans, and we came together to hold those responsible accountable,” Zingaretti said.
It was tough getting back from temporary duty at a conference in Florida with no airplanes flying, but he said he and other attendees had to return as quickly as they could to get to work.
“Everyone’s focus was to get back to work. Telework was not as mature back then so you couldn’t just go back to your hotel and plug in, you had get back,” Zingaretti said.
Thomas Mulconry, a senior special agent with the DLA Office of the Inspector General, also remembered the difficulties people had getting around that day. He said that driving around in Northern Virginia was like a scene from the Twilight Zone that day because there was no one on the streets, no children in schoolyards or people in the parks.
“I remember seeing the survivors from Pentagon making their way in disheveled uniforms. They couldn’t get to their cars, so they were hitching rides – maybe friends, maybe people they didn’t know – folks just helping them get home,” Mulconry said.
DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon recalled being on active duty with the Air Force and just taking over his first squadron a couple of months beforehand. He remembers being in a staff meeting and getting pulled out because something had just happened.
“We got to the television just before the second plane hit the towers, and then we knew it wasn’t an accident,” Cannon said. “As bad as it was to hear about the towers, when the other plane struck the Pentagon, it was a gut punch. I friends in that building, people I had worked with … people I had trained with.”
Next came the hardest question Cannon said he had ever received because nothing in his previous 20 years of service had prepared him for it.
“I was asked, ‘sir, what are going to do now?’” After thinking for a moment, Cannon regrouped and replied, “We’re going to do our jobs. We’re going to get the 82nd Airborne ready to deploy because somebody is going to pay.”
Before the attacks, Cannon said he had deployed once, but after he would go out six more times. Before wrapping things up he thanked everyone for remembering the day and their service.
“Thank you for serving this country in its greatest time of need in the last 20 years, Cannon said.
The observance also included displays of headlines from the day and the names of those who perished in the attacks.