Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. spoke at the Pentagon Monday, addressing a crowd that included the families and friends of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, and survivors who were at the Pentagon that day.
President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis were also present at the ceremony.
"Instead of retreat, the tragedy of 9/11 produced in us, an unyielding resolve," Dunford said. "Instead of hopelessness, our mourning turned into action, and we have strengthened our commitment to the idea that the freedom of many should never be endangered by the hatred of a few."
Dunford stressed the need to honor the fallen, and to continue strengthening the U.S. resolve to fight terrorism and those who attack U.S. values.
"But if we truly want to honor those we remember today, each of us will walk away from this ceremony with a renewed sense of commitment to our values in the cause of freedom," Dunford said. "Each of us will walk away from this simple ceremony reminded that the war is not over and that further sacrifice will be required and each of us will walk away with resolve to strengthen our personal commitment to protect our family, friends and fellow citizens from another 9/11."
The president and defense secretary also spoke at the ceremony. The president said the 9/11 attackers had tried to break American resolve, but failed.
Dunford is the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer. He was commissioned into the U.S. Marine Corps in 1977 and has served as an infantry officer at all levels since that time.