Gregory Barbaccia (August 25th, 1984–) Sergeant, United States Army. Guest speaker for the Combined Joint Task Force 82 Sept. 11 memorial ceremony at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2007. Barbaccia was a student at Xavier High School on 16th Street in lower Manhattan on 9/11 and joined the Army after serving at ground zero.
Combined Joint Task Force 82 9/11 Memorial Ceremony (Sept. 11, 2007)
- "The world that was behind me when I went into school that morning was gone forever, and the new one waiting for me that afternoon was wildly different."
- "Downtown Manhattan that day looked like exactly what it was, a war zone."
- "A layer of ash covered the streets and a cacophony of alarms refused to cease. I remember the 60 block walk home up the middle of 6th Avenue which was completely void of all traffic, except for sporadic rescue vehicles from neighboring counties with unfamiliar demarcations rushing downtown, their sirens piercing the eerie silence. Crowds of people gathered outside any establishment with a television, standing like statues in anesthetized silence. "
- "From all points in Manhattan one could look to the South and see a huge plume of smoke hovering over the rubble where two towers once stood, two majestic American symbols representing both commerce in the free world and Democracy. Buildings that transcended width and height, real estate value and a prestigious office address. These towers spelled America, they spelled your name and mine. "
- "The air was exceptionally thick with the smell of pungent smoke from smoldering rubble."
- "... there was no discerning morning from afternoon, day from night. Just knowing that I was there to serve, I was there to show my gratitude, I was there to say yes, I believe."
- "I’ll never forget the acrid smell, the fearful and numbed look on people’s faces, the sounds and the sour taste in my mouth."
- "That morning terrorists gave their lives to cause those attacks. So here we stand, six years later, prepared to give ours to prevent further ones."