Time to reflect: Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony honors the memory of heroes

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78 ABW/PA
8:46 a.m., Sept. 11, 2001, was the moment that altered the mindset of Americans forever and reminded us the cost of freedom past, present and future.

Six years after the attacks of that day, the minute still reminds us of the loss of innocent civilians and emergency response workers and is used to signal the beginning of tributes around the nation as part of Patriot Day.

The minute also signaled the beginning of the Robins Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony Tuesday, where members of Team Robins gathered to pay tribute to all those killed by the attacks. The event focused on the emergency responders who lost their lives in an effort to save the lives of both their fellow Americans and their fellow human beings from around the world.

Members of the 78th Medical Group, 78th Security Forces Squadron and firefighters from the 778th Civil Engineer Squadron participated in the event as both spectators and participants in an effort to recognize the contributions of all emergency responders.
Tech. Sgt. Allan Justice, a base firefighter who read "A Firefighter's Prayer" during the ceremony, said he thinks of his participation in ceremonies that honor the lives lost Sept. 11 as his way of giving back to fellow rescue workers who lost their lives after the attacks.

Sergeant Justice was stationed overseas at the time of the attacks and was unable to return to the states to help aid his fellow rescue workers at ground zero.

"I very vividly remember that day and I am glad I can help out, since I didn't get to go to the actual site. It's the second best thing I can do," Sergeant Justice said.

Senior Master Sgt. Wesley Hardin with the medical group, said reading "An EMS Prayer" as part of the event was an emotional experience.

"It was pretty overwhelming. I was stationed at the Pentagon during the attacks so it brought back a lot of emotions and memories. But, it is an honor to do the EMS prayer," said Sergeant Hardin.

Maj. Gen. Tom Owen, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, addressed the crowd and specifically those who put their lives on the line each day to help ensure not only the base community, but American soil remains safe.

He told the emergency responders, medical professionals and peacekeepers, "We often don't recognize your worth until danger is eminent."

General Owen thanked the workers on behalf of the Air Force, the country and the base for their daily efforts to save lives and their continued dedication to duty.

He added he was honored to stand amongst the emergency responders who provide safety to the Robins community each day.

General Owen said though the events of Sept. 11 will forever resonate with Americans as the day that changed everything and the reactions of American citizens proved Americans will always come together in times of tragedy.

He said he is "a staunch believer in the ideals that bring us together in times of tragedy."

As the national anthem ended, the fire station bell chimed 15 times in their honor. As the bell tolled its last chime, "Taps" played in the background. The musical procession was followed by a moment of silence where the somberness of the occasion became evident as heads bowed in reverence and respect for those who lost their lives in the attack and the following recovery efforts.

The sacrifice made by those 418 rescue workers, as they tried to save the lives of others who fell prey to the terrorist attack, is one that should always be honored, said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Rosser, master of ceremonies and Robins deputy fire chief.

The event closed with "Amazing Grace" played by an Air Force bagpiper. Though only the notes rang out from the bagpipes you could see the words "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me," on the lips of all those in attendance.

The simple lyrics of an old hymn seemed to sum up the sentiment of the event saying, only grace can set us free from the minute that changed our nation six short years ago.