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U.S. troops mark event that sent them to Afghanistan

U.S. troops attend commemoration ceremonies at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, on Wednesday.
U.S. troops attend commemoration ceremonies at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, on Wednesday.  

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (CNN) Thousands of miles from home, U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Wednesday remembered the dark day that sent them to their latest mission.

Members of the U.S. millitary service, deployed to wipe out the remnants of the al Qaeda terrorists and the Taliban government of Afghanistan, paused to reflect on the September 11 attacks.

Troops stood in formation before a half-staff American flag at Bagram Air Base and remembered those who died a year ago.

Lt. Gen. Dan McNeill, commander of Operation Enduring Freedom, commemorated the victims and praised the soldiers in the war against terrorism.

"The war is not over. Without doubt, we are winning, but we do not have it won," McNeill told the troops. "I'm proud of what you are doing."

Troops bowed their heads for prayer and a moment of silence. They saluted as taps played. Then, the American flag was lowered, folded and marched out, and troops filed out of the area. (Gallery: U.S. troops in Afghanistan commemorate 9/11)

Earlier in Kabul, a plaque was unveiled at the U.S. Embassy honoring the victims. The small monument was placed over a small piece of the World Trade Center that was buried months earlier at the embassy.

"On this first observance of Patriot Day we remember and honor those who perished in the terrorist attack on September 11," said U.S. Charge d'Affaires Brad Hanson.

"Our armed forces have pursued the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere with valor and skill. Together with our coalition partners they have achieved successes," Hanson said. "Americans have also fought back against terror by choosing to overcome evil with good."

Earlier Wednesday at Bagram, a man fired shots at a guard tower, according to U.S. Central Command in Florida.

A Central Command spokesman said soldiers returned fire, and the man was shot and wounded. It appeared the man was firing a muzzleloader, the spokesman said.

The spokesman also confirmed a report that two rockets were fired at a U.S. Special Forces base near Lwara in southeastern Afghanistan. There were no injuries.

American forces are continuing Champion Strike --- an operation in eastern Afghanistan aimed at killing or capturing al Qaeda members.




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