Life is dripping with irony. I now work in NYC where I advise a very talented young CEO of an Artificial Intelligence Company (he is the same age as one of my sons). I onboarded last month and tried my best to dress down for the occasion knowing my work mates were a bunch of VERY young data scientists, software engineers, and the like. Picture me in a white buttoned down shirt with a Special Operations Warrior Foundation logo, black pants and hiking shoes. I entered the workplace and immediately realized that I had doubled or tripled the median age of the company. I also realized that I was still very over dressed. I’m now investing in some good hoodies so I can fit in better.

I neglected to mention where I work. I work at One World Center on the 80th floor. Hallowed ground.

I work where those mighty towers once stood.

I work where people jumped to their death rather than be burned alive.

Folks at my current place of work would have watched the dreadful approach of United flight 175 which crashed between floors 78-82.

I walk to work past the amazing pools appropriately called, “Reflective Absence”.

We went to war with the intent to ensure that we would never ever endure another 9/11.

Eighteen years later we are still at it. We lost another four teammates in the last two weeks, three from our Special Operations forces.

While this day always brings back memories of the shock, the loss, the suffering, the resolve, the compassion, and the pride, we ALL shared those feelings. It was the last time in 18 years (almost two decades now) that I remember feeling like a truly UNITED States of America. I long for that feeling again, as I know do many of you.

Never forget this heinous attack. But, more importantly, never forget the resolve, resilience and unity of this great country.

God Bless the USA!

Tony Thomas is a retired Army general who last served as the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. This is republished with his permission from his Facebook page,

Editor’s note: This is an Op-Ed and as such, the opinions expressed are those of the author. If you would like to respond, or have an editorial of your own you would like to submit, please contact Military Times managing editor Howard Altman, haltman@militarytimes.com.