FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A memorial took place at Baker Field House on Eielson Air Force Base this morning in remembrance of September 11. The stands in The Baker Field House were filled with emotion as Airmen and women along with family members gathered in the gymnasium to remember those whose lives were forever changed seventeen years ago on September 11, 2001.
Many sat in silence as Airmen shared stories and prayers remembering that fateful day, recollecting where they were at that moment. Colonel Shawn Anger, Vice Commander of the 354th Fighter Wing, spoke with compassion about how much changed after the attack.
He said, "Many of you cannot remember how things were before September 11.For me I remember a time when there was still a line at airport security, where people met their loved ones as they walked off the jet way. I remember when there were military stickers that went with your rank. Red for enlisted, green for civilians. Mere presence of these stickers allowed you access to the installation, stopping at the gates or lines. No boulders provided standoff to our buildings. All of these things changed that fateful day."
They honored those firefighters and first responders who answered their last call of duty by ringing a bell in a series of five rings, three times. This ceremony represents the end of these comrades' duties, and the eternal rest they have earned.
Following the Ceremony at 9:11 a.m. they gathered outside to participate in a 5K memorial run. As runners took off, Staff Sargent Jordan Patterson, crew chief at the Eielson Fire Department, shared what drove him to do the job.
He said, "I became a firefighter when I turned eighteen, so I've been a fire fighter for a little over ten years. And it's absolutely the reason why I chose this career. I saw the ultimate level of sacrifice that those men and women were willing to give to help their fellow man, and it stuck a cord in me all those years ago, and it still strikes that cord today."
Patterson said that he hopes 9/11 is a day for people to reflect, and remember the many good men and women who lost their lives and to never forget those who are not with us and pass down the story of 9/11 with those who come after us, so it will never be forgotten.