Visionaries in Service: Brian Kitching

  • November 9, 2021
A smiling man in an Army camouflage uniform

It's officially Week II of our Salute to Service blog series, featuring Visionaries whose personal experiences inspired them to join the United States military. Lieutenant Colonel Brian Kitching - a 2021 White House Fellow - kicks things off with a Q&A sharing some of the insight he gained over the course of the 50 months he spent deployed to combat. 

In what way(s) did your connection to September 11 shape your path to military service?
On 9/11, I was an enlisted specialist serving at the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY. Following the attacks, my path of service, like so many other service men and women, dramatically changed. For me, it seemed to broaden rapidly as I transitioned to becoming an officer in the Infantry. The pace and frequency of combat deployments in support of the Global War on Terror molded me as a leader in deeply meaningful ways, and helped me put life and service to country in a different perspective than when I enlisted before 9/11.

What about the leaders under whom you served has stayed with you the most?
Competence, humility, and care for the men and women each of them led. Particularly in war, I find that it’s not enough to be an expert in my particular field. It is important to our women and men that we treat them with dignity and respect, that we get to know them and their families, and that we genuinely want to succeed in all facets of their lives. Leaders I most respect are those that care about preparing me for war, and remember and take the time to see me as a complete person.

Men and women joining the military today have no living memory of 9/11. Why is it important that they visit the Memorial & Museum to understand both the attacks and the ongoing consequences? |
Many of the men and women currently under my command were born after the 9/11 attacks. It’s important to me that they learn about 9/11 because as the world’s most powerful military, it can be easy to fall prey to hubris. We must remember that there is no guarantee to the freedom we enjoy each day. I want each of them to understand with a sense of reverence how important their service and commitment is to our country. The Memorial & Museum provide service members the clearest experience of that day, and I think both are ways to remind us all to be steadfast in our service and protection of what we hold dear.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

Note: As part of Salute to Service, U.S. military veterans will receive free Museum admission from Thursday, November 11 through Sunday, November 14, with up to three guests at a 50 percent discount. Reserve your tickets

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Visionaries in Service: Carlton Shelley II

A bearded, smiling young man in a white shirt and navy blue blazer

For the fourth installment of our Salute to Service blog series, we asked Visionary Carlton Shelley II to share a little bit about the lessons of September 11 and his journey in the military. 

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Our 2021 Salute to Service

Volunteers prep yellow roses for Veterans Day placement on the Memorial

Read about our 2021 Salute to Service plans and offers, recognizing our country's veterans and those who support them. 

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