Monument Phase II
This summer, I had the privilege of meeting members of this year’s International Fellows while they were visiting Flathead Lake Lodge. The International Fellows is a program started in 1984 by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Colin Powell, which educates Military Leaders from around the world in conjunction with the National Defense University.
While the Fellows were being treated to the Lodge tradition of an outdoor “Steak Fry”, I was on hand at the Benghazi Monument site (placed nearby) to explain its history and answer any questions. It was a pleasure speaking with an MP Lieutenant Commander from Kosovo about the monument, and to share the story of that tragic event. During our conversation, he made a simple statement that hit home.
“You need to put something in writing up here about what happened that day, so everyone who sees the monument knows”. He was right. As time passes, those that visit the Monument may not recall the details, and our younger visitors may not know at all what took place on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya.
So our foundation has decided to implement a second phase of the Benghazi Monument, which will include a separate/adjacently placed granite stone with Bronzed Plaque attached telling the events that unfolded on September 11, 2012. This will help to ensure that the story of bravery, acts of courage and ultimate sacrifice, is preserved for all to read and recall why ‘We Will Never Forget”.
Thank you for your support!
Bill Thomas – President, 9-11 Honor and Serve Foundation
What happened that day?
Here’s the text we’ll be adding to the monument.
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September 11, 2012 Benghazi, Libya
On September 11, 2012 in Libya, a heavily armed group executed an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. The attack began at night in a U.S. diplomatic compound for the consulate, and ended at another diplomatic compound nearby where the U.S. intelligence was posted. Killed were U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other members of his diplomatic mission, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and U.S. embassy security personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Two other Americans and seven Libyans were also injured. The Benghazi attack was strongly condemned by the governments of Libya, the United States and other countries around the world.
Libyans held demonstrations in Benghazi and Tripoli, condemning the violence and holding signs such as, “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans”, and apologizing to Americans for the actions in their name and in the name of Muslims. On September 21, about 30,000 Libyans protested against armed militias in their country including Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia alleged to have played a role in the attack, and stormed several militia headquarters, forcing the occupants to flee. On September 23, the Libyan president ordered that all unauthorized militias either disband or come under government control. Militias across the country began surrendering to the government and submitting to its authority. Hundreds of Libyans gathered in Tripoli and Benghazi to hand over their weapons to the government.
On September 28, U.S. intelligence revised their initial assessment to indicate that it “was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists”. The attack created political controversy during the US 2012 Presidential election then underway. The United States investigation of the attack is being conducted separately by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
At such time the United States investigation is concluded, this historical record will be updated.