HomeNewsArticle Display

Tyndall ceremony honors 9/11 heroes, victims

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- More than 400 people attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the base chapel here Sept. 11 to honor the victims and heroes of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command sponsored the ceremony. The command's deputy commander, Brig. Gen. Marcel Duval, spoke at the event. The event included two minutes of silence.

"Those who died and served in response to those attacks gave us hope and inspired us to a call of arms," the general said. "Because of those attacks, new working relationships were forged between military and federal agencies to prevent another evil aggression from occurring on American soil."

Many of the people at this base have a story of where they were and how the attacks affected them. Lt. Col. Don Arias' younger brother, Adam, died in Tower II of the World Trade Center. It is a date that he will live with for the rest of his life. So events like the wreath laying ceremony are bitter sweet for the colonel, the 1st Air Force director of public affairs.

"Today's ceremony is something we should do so that military members won't forget," the colonel said. "This is why we wear the uniform."

Colonel Arias prefers to look toward the future rather than dwell on the hurt of the past.

"During the ceremony I thought about my brother but also about my sons and their futures," the colonel said. "I thought about how our kids are going to pick up that mantle of the American dream and keep our nation safe and free."

Because of the tragic event, the Air Force and other federal agencies have done just that, he said.

"Since 9/11 we have put in place a layered defense over the continental United States," said Maj. Gen. M. Scott Mayes, 1st AF commander. "It's a combination of ground-based missiles, fighters on alert, irregular air patrols and ground base fighters."

The layered defense -- with internal and external radars and federal coordination with Transportation Security Agency, FBI, and counter-terrorism force -- have given the United States the edge on preventing terrorist attacks from occurring again, the general said.

The events of 9/11 have given the nation a rapid realization that threats can happen within its shores, General Mayes said. Only by working together with interagency partners has the nation built a formidable team to detect and prevent attack.

"It's important we do this every year so Americans remember the sacrifices that American citizens and people in uniform make everyday to keep our nation safe," Colonel Arias said.