Team Buckley remembers 9/11
By 2nd Lt. Rachel Freeman
/ Published September 09, 2011
Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. -- In remembrance of the tragic events and lives that were lost on Sept. 11, 2001, 15 Army and Air Force personnel from Team Buckley paid tribute by taking part in a standing silent vigil at the base flag pole.
The Patriot Day vigil began at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 9 with a new member posting and standing at attention every 30 minutes until the retreat ceremony at 4:30 p.m.
The start time was in commemoration of the lives lost when the first plane hit the towers a decade ago.
"Today is important because it gives us a time to remember the victims of Sept. 11 and honor their lives. It helps us to remember those who have served and risked their lives and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country," said Col. Tracey Hayes, 460th Space Wing vice commander. "We need to continue to support our war fighters who are fighting for freedom everyday."
Several personnel in the vigil took time to remember where they were on Sept. 11, 2001.
Maj. Brad Johnson, Executive Officer for the 743rd Military Intelligence Battallion was stationed at Fort Riley, Kan. He had just gotten done with physical training and received a call from his mother notifying him of what she had just seen. He watched on television, as many of us did on that fateful day, as the second plane flew into the tower.
Taking part in this vigil afforded Johnson the opportunity to reflect on the past 10 years and the lives of those affected. "I felt a re-dedication and a better purpose for serving," said Johnson.
Other personnel had yet to join the military. Senior Airman Alyssa Baguyo, 460th Operations Group Intelligence analyst was a freshman in high school in 2001. She joined three years ago because she wanted the opportunity to serve her country and say that she was part of something.
Participating in the vigil was an emotional experience for her as she comes close to re-enlistment. "I felt honored and blessed to pay my respects," said Baguya.
Her hope is that we never forget the things that are important to us as we get caught up in our busy lifestyles. "I hope we take a moment and appreciate life and what we have in it," said Baguya.
The guest speaker for the retreat ceremony was Chief Master Sgt. Mark Harper, 460th Operations Group Intelligence superintendent. He counted his blessings as he spoke about how his wife, who worked at the Pentagon on 9/11, was five months pregnant with one of their children. When I look at the faces of my three youngest children I am so thankful for the many blessings I have been given and I know there is a debt I can never repay, said Harper.
Harper reminded the crowd of several of the heroes of 9/11 and encouraged them to never forget the innocent civilians and military who gave their lives that day. Many of these heroes were people who sacrificed their own lives in the effort to save another.
"This is a moment to reflect on that day, on the people who gave so much. And how a nation, as a people, are not weaker, but are stronger because of 9/11 and our resolve to overcome evil men and their designs. Now today... and each day, it is important to remember," said Harper.
The Mile-High Honor Guard concluded the ceremony by playing Taps, firing a 21-gun salute and lowering the flag during the national anthem.