PenFed Credit Union to Honor 9/11 Heroes with Commemorative Ceremony Featuring Military Service Members and First Responders

Posted September 11 2020
by Media Relations

TYSONS, Va., September 10, 2020 -- In honor of those who were impacted by and responded to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, PenFed Credit Union has unveiled a 30 x 60-foot American flag on the side of its corporate headquarters in Tysons, Virginia. On the 19th anniversary of 9/11/2001, PenFed Board members, employees and honored guests will participate in a remembrance ceremony and a moment of silence timed with when American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon. The tragedy is of particular significance to PenFed because its signature branch is located inside the Pentagon.

“PenFed’s mission has long included serving America’s national defense community and first responders,” said James Schenck, President and CEO of PenFed Credit Union and CEO of PenFed Foundation. “Hanging the American flag from our building reminds us that freedom isn’t free, and we owe a debt of gratitude to those who serve and have served our country. Every year on September 11, we honor the brave military heroes and first responders who gave their lives so that others would survive. We will never forget.”

Schenck was working at PenFed in Alexandria when he heard the news of the attacks on 9/11/2001. Schenck and several PenFed volunteers walked seven miles to the Pentagon to see how they could help the branch team and others who were immediately impacted. PenFed reopened for business the next day and provided continuous service and support to the Pentagon community.

PenFed has invited employees and media to attend a brief, socially-distanced outdoor ceremony Friday at 8:30 a.m. The ceremony will include remarks from PenFed Board members, employees, military and first responders sharing their experiences on 9/11. PenFed will also announce $10,000 in donations to support first responders and their ongoing life-saving efforts.   

Among those speaking will be retired Command Sgt. Maj. David Clark, an Army veteran who served eight combat deployments and who currently serves as Director of Outreach for the PenFed Foundation. “It’s a tough day for veterans,” said Clark. “I think not only about the lives that were lost in 2001, but the lives that were lost in the years following. I lost a lot of service members and close friends throughout many deployments. I reflect on their sacrifices, too. A lot of them were young – they never had opportunities to start families. They never made it back to kiss their families. But they answered the nation’s call, raised their right hands and committed to serving and doing their part.”  

Charlie Miles, PenFed’s Director of Military and College Employment Programs, will also be giving remarks. Prior to joining PenFed, he was a Marine Corps officer and pilot and flew 45 combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq in support of the War On Terrorism during his military career. On 9/11/2001, he was stationed near Manhattan, New York. “I was 40 miles north of the city, but we could see the smoke coming off the towers all the way from Manhattan,” Miles said. “I flew over Ground Zero not long after that, and it was an incredibly moving experience. My Marine Corps contract ended in 2001, but I stayed for another 11 years. I’m very proud to work with PenFed now, because at PenFed, we remember those sacrifices, and we get the opportunity to continue serving every day.” 

Terry Williams, retired Marine Corps Brigadier General and PenFed’s Senior Vice President of Global Fixed Assets, was serving as an aide-de-camp to a combatant commander in Hawaii on 9/11. “In the weeks following the attacks, the commander I was working for was summoned for a meeting with the President, the National Security Council, and other combatant commanders. I remember the urgency all of us felt on 9/11. It’s important for people to remember what so many men and women voluntarily do every day to protect the nation. No one makes them do it. They do it willingly.” 

Retired Army General John W. Nicholson Jr., President of the PenFed Foundation, was moving into a new house that day. His desk in the Pentagon was 100 feet from where the nose of the plane hit the building. “Everyone between my desk and the plane perished. You don’t forget something like this. It stays with you forever. What I do every day, I do now in honor of those people we lost.”

Before or after the ceremony, attendees are invited to view the 252 Engine, a fire truck that was used in the rescue efforts on 9/11/2001, that will be located on site. The highly trained unit included six New York City Fire Department crew members who arrived at the North Tower of the World Trade Center shortly after the attacks and were making their way through the building to help other firefighters. All the members of the 252 Engine crew made the supreme sacrifice and died in the line of duty on the morning of 9/11. Alongside the truck will be commemorative signs to ensure we never forget the fallen heroes.  

Founded in 1935 as the War Department Credit Union, PenFed’s core membership is comprised of members of the national defense communities and all who support them. Following the attacks of 2001, PenFed launched the PenFed Foundation to support service members, veterans and their families. Over 142,000 members of the military community have received assistance through the PenFed Foundation’s financial education, credit-building, homeownership, short-term assistance and veteran entrepreneurial support services. To learn more about PenFed’s history, visit To learn more about the work of the PenFed Foundation, visit

About PenFed Credit Union

Established in 1935, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) is America’s second-largest federal credit union, serving over 2.1 million members worldwide with over $26 billion in assets. PenFed Credit Union offers market-leading certificates, checking, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and a wide range of other financial services. Our mission is to empower members of our community to achieve their financial well-being. PenFed Credit Union is federally insured by the NCUA and is an Equal Housing Lender. To learn more about PenFed Credit Union, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us @PenFed on Twitter. Interested in working for PenFed? Check us out on LinkedIn. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

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