LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Approximately 230 Airmen gathered at the base flag pole at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 11, 2019 to pay respects to those who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks 18 years ago.
Displays were arranged in the center of Heritage Park, which represented the first responder emergency services and victims. Specifically, police officers, medical responders, fire fighters and victims were all honored during the ceremony for their heroism and selfless sacrifice.
According to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, nearly 3,000 people from 93 different nations were killed in the attacks; 2,743 people were killed in New York, 184 people were killed at the Pentagon and 40 people were killed aboard United Airlines Flight 93.
Lisalee Ibanez, 47th Fighter Training Wing Chapel protestant parish coordinator, attended high school in New York when it all unfolded. Ibanez shared her experience with the crowd, as she retold her vivid encounter. The day starting off like any other day, but would soon alter lives forever. What stuck with her the most was the unity that was brought on by such terror.
“New Yorkers came together!” she said. “Restaurant and store owners gave food, snacks and sneakers to those who had to walk up to 100 blocks to get home. People came together as a community, and that really stayed with me.”
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Gregory Brunson, 47th FTW chaplain, also shared words honoring those killed during the attacks.
“This date, 9/11 carries a heavy burden of memory. We remember the heroism of the many that lost their lives in saving others. We remember all those who suffered and died, we grieve for them still, friends and strangers alike, along with their families and friends,” Brunson said. “This date, 9/11, carries a good deal of pride. We also remember the love of service and our pride in America. We remember streets lined with the American flag and how difficult it was to find Old Glory on the store shelves.”
The ceremony culminated with Laughlin’s Honor Guard ceremoniously posting the flag at half mast, while the crowd observed in somber silence. “Today Team XL joined in paying respects to the men and women, their families and first responders who fell victim to the tragic attacks from September 11,” said Col. Lee Gentile, 47th FTW commander.
“As Americans we can’t let their memory fade. We must take time, not just today, to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It’s because of events in history like this that we come together in the spirit of unity, which fuels our desire to serve proudly to protect the men and women of this great nation,” said Gentile.