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Don't forget the sacrifices of 9/11

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms
  • 45th SW commander
What a stirring ceremony we had at the base flagpole Tuesday, marking the sixth anniversary of 9/11. For me, standing with many of you remembering the horrors and triumphs of that dreadful day was a moving experience. It brought home the fact that our world changed forever on that fateful day-suddenly we were a nation at war.

September 11 will never again be an ordinary date on the calendar. On this day we saw the face of evil extremism. We also saw something distinctly American: courageous citizens rising to the occasion and responding with extraordinary acts. This cowardly attack brought an immediate reaction of unity from the American people. Families from every class and culture sent their husbands, wives and children to war; no one was untouched by the effort to bring all the nation's resources to bear to defend our homeland and our way of life.

"Patriot Day" is, by presidential proclamation, a day when we unite to remember and honor those who perished in the terrorist attacks. We cannot forget the events of that terrible morning six years ago, nor can we forget how brave Americans responded in New York City, at the Pentagon and in the skies over Pennsylvania with heroism and selflessness; with compassion and courage; and with prayer and hope.

As we remember those patriots who perished, let us also remember the untold heroes - military and civilian - who served not only on 9/11, but who continue to serve protecting us - defending our freedom and national interests.

As members of America's Armed Forces, you are among those heroes. Approximately 180 of our fellow comrades in arms from the 45th Space Wing and our mission partners are deployed in the Global War on Terrorism. Many of you have been deployed and others will deploy soon. This wing is on the front lines of the battle and you are all serving with honor - whether here at the wing or in theater.

As Chaplain Ron Underwood said during the prayer he rendered at Tuesday's ceremony, "we must also remember the preciousness of life and family, the gift of freedom and that our enemies are not relenting. Our mission is to defend America against that unrelenting, present danger and offer hope as the alternative to extremism and terror." I believe our Armed Forces are accomplishing that mission with distinction. In other words, what you do for our nation and our allies could not be more important!

September 11 will forever hold a cherished place in our hearts and in our Nation's history. It is especially poignant to note that warriors of the DoD were among the lost-men and women who signed up to fight for freedom, but surely did not expect to make the ultimate sacrifice on home turf. Let's commit ourselves to honor the victims of 9/11, and to strengthen our resolve that such a loss within our borders will not happen again. Go Sharks!