Editor’s Note: It’s been said that everyone living in America on Sept. 11, 2001, can remember where they were and what they were doing when the first plane struck the World Trade Center in New York City. For many, their lives changed forever and the horrific consequences of the 9/11 attacks were deeply personal. In an all hands message to employees, NIWC Atlantic’s Commanding Officer and Executive Director honor an employee who perished on that fateful day.
On this Patriot Day, we pause as a nation to remember those who lost their lives at the hands of terrorists and the countless heroes who risked everything for the safety of others on Sept. 11, 2001.
Many of us can still recount exactly where we were when these events occurred and how it felt to watch the devastation unfold. Though the loss was unimaginable, these actions did not break the American resolve, but rather we emerged a stronger more unified country under the banner of freedom and against the ideology of radical extremism.
Nearly 3,000 people from all over the world died following the tragic events in New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Every person a friend, family member, or coworker to someone – every person now dearly missed. As a NIWC Atlantic family, we take special pause to pay tribute to one of our own teammates that lost his life following the attack on the Pentagon.
Mr. James T. Lynch, affectionately known by many as the “Candy Man,” served as a SPAWAR Systems Center Charleston electronics technician assigned to the Navy Command Center in the Pentagon. Every lunch break, Mr. Lynch could be found roaming the corridors and office spaces of the Pentagon delivering a piece of candy to the people he passed. More than candy, though, he was delivering encouragement, kindness and a smile to those that had the honor of encountering him.
Today, our own Command Briefing Theater in Charleston’s main engineering building is named in Mr. Lynch’s honor as a way to continue to share his lasting legacy and sacrifice. We will always hold dear the memory of Mr. Lynch and mourn the loss of his life along with nearly 3,000 others who were lost that fateful day. At NIWC Atlantic, we best preserve their legacy through our unwavering commitment to serving, equipping and enabling the warfighter to ensure a brighter future for tomorrow.
To read the 2020 Presidential Proclamation on this anniversary, go to
CAPT Wesley Sanders
Peter C. Reddy
To view James T. Lynch’s biography, please visit his National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial website page.