The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina

give online buttongive online button apply now buttonapply now button

South Carolina remembers 9/11: 15 years later

The Post & Courier
Published 11 Sept 2016

Lieutenant General John W. Rosa, USAF (Retired)
Class of 1973
President, The Citadel

On Sept. 11, a series of coordinated attacks brought planes crashing into the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania and the Twin Towers. We invited readers and public officials to share their thoughts on how that day changed their lives.


At 9:37 a.m., Sept. 11, 2001, I felt a thud that shook the floor of my office in the Pentagon. Acrid smoke and confusion clouded the air as people frantically evacuated the building.

I was a one-star Air Force general assigned to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Operations Division. When the Pentagon was struck by American Airlines Flight 77, I was one of a handful of people who stayed behind to continue the mission of the National Military Command Center, which is to ensure continuity of operations and communications for the Department of Defense.

As the Department of Defense spokesperson for military action in Afghanistan following the attacks of 9/11, it was my great honor to describe the heroic efforts of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who answered our nation’s call during this devastating time. I was also humbled to conclude my military service as the superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, preparing future officers to serve our country during a time of uncertainty.

I am amazed by the sacrifice of our first responders, military members and their families. Their devotion to duty and their country is what makes the United States the greatest country in the world.

The Citadel President Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa

Read the article at

Back to Top