Twenty years ago, thousands of lives were lost when terrorists attacked our Nation. Today, we remember them and pray for their families.
On that day, I knew many of the Navy personnel that were lost in the Pentagon. At the time, I was assigned to Marine Corps Operations, and our department was slated to move into new offices at the Pentagon on September 1st to join our Navy counterparts. The move was delayed, and ten days later we watched in horror from the Navy Annex as smoke rose from the Pentagon. The loss of life on that day, especially those of the service members I had worked with side by side, still weighs heavily on my mind.
In the aftermath of that terrible tragedy, thousands of service members rose to defend our country. They were moved by patriotism to defend our Nation; many of them were first responders who aided in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia and then choose to enlist. Then and now, we are grateful for the Marines and Navy Corpsmen who risked, and too often sacrificed, their lives to protect our freedom.
At the Scholarship Foundation, we work every day to honor both the lives that were lost on September 11th and those who served afterwards. Through our Heroes Tribute scholarship program, we make a promise that every child of a fallen Marine or Navy Corpsman will receive a $30,000 scholarship so they can attend college or technical school, no matter their financial background. After 30 years of service in the Marine Corps, my new role at the Scholarship Foundation is especially meaningful to me because we ensure that no Marine family in-need gets left behind.
Two decades after one of the darkest days in American history, we want to share our gratitude with you. Thanks to your dedicated support, we can provide life-changing scholarships to the next generation of leaders, those raised on the Honor, Courage and Commitment of their Marine parents. Thank you for your steadfast support of Marine and Navy Corpsmen families.
Colonel Harold “Odie” VanOpdorp USMC (Ret.)
Chief Operating Officer
Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation