'Never forget'

That's the message for the Orange County native who spent Sept. 11, 2001, in president's bunker with George Bush

Make text smaller Make text larger


  • Lt. Col. Robert J. Darling (Photo: http://24hoursinsidethepresidentsbunker.com)

“The greatest generation our country has ever seen is the one bearing the weight of the struggle before us right now.”
Lt. Col. Robert J. Darling

By Christine Urio

— Mount Saint Mary College was one of many organizations hosting Sept. 11 remembrance events today, with Marine Corps Lt. Col. Robert J. Darling, a Newburgh native, offering reflections on the day.

The overall theme of his speech was “never forget.”

Darling spoke about what leaders knew — and when — in the critical hours after the Sept. 11 attacks, and the steps they took to protect the nation. At that time, Darling — then a major — was quickly escorted to the President's bunker after the first plane hit the Twin Towers.

“It’s important to remember the attack and those who inflicted it, but it’s also important to remember the incredible sacrifices of so many who continue to keep us safe here at home,” Darling said, who recounted his personal experience during the terrorist attacks, “which includes our military for their incredible dedication to defend our country, but also the sacrifices of our first responders, like fireman, police officers, FBI agents, CIA officers, NSA and DIA analysts, DHS personnel from Customs and Border Patrol, TSA, Coast Guard, airline pilots and crew, and even our New York ferry boat captains who were there for so many New Yorkers on 9/11, and who continue to be there for us today.”

He discussed the collapse of the towers, the near shoot down of a medical evacuation helicopter and the shoot down order of United Flight 93.

“The passengers onboard United Flight 93 were the ultimate heroes for unifying themselves and for stopping the terrorists from succeeding in their mission,” he said.

He also spoke about the moment the U.S. moved its strategic nuclear forces to DEFCON 3, the phone call with Russian President Putin, and the phone calls with the President when he was on Air Force One.

“Our country's leaders did attempt to protect and defend America despite the communication failures that did occur in the presidential chain of command, starting with the National Command Authority and extending down to local military, government, and civilian leaders,” said Darling.

The presentation concluded with a reminder of the importance of service to America at all levels, from national to community service.

“Our enemies are ruthless and persistent, but we must remain strong and not tire in this struggle for freedom,” he said. “We must continue to honor and support our military and first responders — we all play an important role in the security of our nation.”

Although Darling served as a pilot for over 20 years, he does not consider himself a hero.

“There is a huge difference between serving one's country and being a hero, I merely served on the most infamous day in our lives — I did my job,” he said. “Heroes are all those who continue to face our enemies in combat, rescue the wounded civilians from the marathon bombing and tackle a terrorist on a train in France. Please feel free to thank me for my service but please don’t confuse me and my service with the many incredible heroes who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to risk their lives to protect us.”

Now retired from the Marine Corps, Darling is currently the President and CEO of Quantitative Analytics, LLC an aviation operations and Logistics Company located in Stafford, Va.

He is also involved in raising money for the Committee for Families of War Veterans, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization committed to raising money for returning veterans, current soldiers, as well as soldiers, and the families of those wounded or killed in combat.

One resonating sentiment was that of continual courage, perseverance and pride.

“The greatest generation our country has ever seen,” Darling added, “is the one bearing the weight of the struggle before us right now.”

Make text smaller Make text larger


Pool Rules


Lorraine Carroll seeks re-election to the Monroe-Woodbury School Board
My name is Lorraine Carroll and I am seeking re-election to the Monroe-Woodbury Board of Education.
I am a 19-year resident and have four children, my youngest is a junior in...

Read more »

Welcome home
This welcoming house belongs on the sign for Lake Manor Estates, located off Quaker Hill Road in Monroe.

Those in the know this week are the consistent veterans of this...

Read more »

Heroes and villains
The children of Tuxedo’s George Grant Mason Elementary school enjoyed a night of snacks and songs with their favorite story book characters on May 3. Many of the K-6...
Read more »

Monroe Suspect in 2012 attempted murder arrested in State of Florida
The Monroe Police Department announced the arrest of Rafael Ramos-Cardona of the State of Florida, for an attempted murder that occurred in the Village of Monroe in February 2012.
Read more »


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Community Newspapers


Local News
Heroes and villains
  • May 19, 2019
Where in clues
Welcome home
  • May 19, 2019
Local News
MONROE. Budding artists in Monroe
  • May 19, 2019


Weather in Monroe, NY