Remembering Heroes

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jacob Dastas
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.—Tyndall Air Force Base’s 325th Civil Engineer Squadron’s fire protection flight hosted a ceremony in remembrance of the men and women that gave their lives during the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

During the ceremony, members of the installation spoke in memory of those who sacrificed their lives and how Tyndall will continue to honor their legacy.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001 are a reminder to many Americans of the tragedies that took place and how precious life can be. Many remember where they were and what they were doing when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City at 8:46 AM. That moment, and the following events of that day, changed the lives of millions across the United States and the world forever.

Out of the nearly 3,000 lives lost that day, almost 400 were first responders on scene and in the towers attempting to rescue those who were trapped. While many who live and operate in the first responder professions understand that they or someone they love may stare death in the face one day, those who are left behind have an equally difficult task of carrying on.

“Our [Airmen] take this time to reflect on the courageous efforts of the men and women that risked their lives and paid the ultimate price to try and save others,” said Staff Sgt. Nesta Gross, 325th CES fire protection specialist. “Here at Tyndall, we stand strong for those that were part of this disaster and that is why we hold this ceremony every year.”

The 325th Fighter Wing pays homage to this day by holding an annual ceremony in remembrance of all first responders lost during the tragedy 22 years ago.

“We have so many fire fighters, security forces members and medical personnel that do similar work as those lost during the 9/11 tragedy,” said Gross. “Some reflect on the family and/or friends lost during this tragedy and during the line of duty.”

The 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony was held at 7:46 am Central Standard Time, 8:46 am Eastern Standard Time, the exact time the first plane crashed into the North Tower. During the ceremony, CES members climbed the stairs of the 325th Operations Support Squadron’s air traffic control tower in full protection equipment.

“The stair climb plays such a significant role in our ceremony,” said Gross. “It paints the picture of how long and far our fire fighters, medical personnel and police officers had to climb to perform their duties to save victims, patients and those that were trapped in the ruble.”

After the climb, coinciding with the end of the ceremony, the 325th CES members draped and hung an American flag over the railing of the ATC tower catwalk, to show respect and commitment to maintaining the legacy of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“‘Never Forget’ and ‘Always in our heart’ have been the slogans for those we have lost,” said Gross. “We will always remember the sacrifices made on that day by those individuals and reflect on the decisions that they had to make to pave the way for our future as a country.”