Lockheed's memorial is carved out of polished black granite, and includes pillars to honor six employees. (Lockheed Martin)
At a ceremony with seating for only 400 but close to 500 attendees, Lockheed Martin unveiled a memorial on Sept. 11 at company headquarters to employees who lost their lives at the hands of, and in the fight against, terrorists.
The memorial, carved out of polished black granite, included pillars to honor six employees. Four of the employees lost their lives supporting operations in Afghanistan. An additional pillar commemorated an employee who was executed by al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, and the final pillar remembered an employee who lost his life on Sept. 11, 2001, when his flight was crashed into the Pentagon.
Beginning the ceremony, which was held adjacent to the new memorial inside Lockheed’s offices in Bethesda, Md., CEO Robert Stevens described the sacrifices made by the deceased.
“This act of uncommon virtue by those who step forward is not undertaken because they failed to assess the risk, or understand the difficulty, or appreciate the consequences,” he said. “They act because they are in service to others in a cause greater than themselves. Because they put our well-being ahead of their own without regard to personal sacrifice. And in a moment of great peril, faithfully discharge their responsibilities with unwavering devotion.”
Attended by roughly two dozen family members of the deceased, the ceremony included the presentation of what the company called “Medal of Honor Coins.” One was given to a representative from each family, as well as to six company employees who survived attacks and were honored at the ceremony as well.
“As many of you know, the U.S. government presents a medal to members of our armed services who demonstrate extraordinary courage, sacrifice and patriotism,” incoming Chief Operating Officer Marillyn Hewson said during the ceremony. “It’s called the Medal of Honor. It is the highest tribute our nation pays to our men and women in uniform. And while we don’t have such a medal for contractors, we know that our employees serve with equal courage, sacrifice and patriotism.”
Speaking after the ceremony, Stevens noted the risks taken by employees working with the military.
I don’t think the general public appreciates the degree to which companies and contractors who are supporting the military take on risks being at forward operating bases and so forth,” he said.
However, Stevens said the event was arranged for the purpose of remembrance.
“The event today was not to try to publicize that, the event today was for the families,” he said.
The idea for the memorial came from an employee based in Marietta Ga., who was in attendance. The ceremony was also attended by several State Department officials.