By SSgt. Christian Jadot, 144th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 11, 2011
California Air National Guard Base Fresno -- A decade has passed since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today the United States is paying tribute to 9/11 on the 10th anniversary of the event.
The California Air National Guard's 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif., remembered the victims of the 9/11 attack with a memorial ceremony today on base.
"We wanted to take time out of our day to remember the tragedy," said Colonel Sami Said, Commander of the 144th Fighter Wing. "The significance of today is that America lost almost 3,000 of its citizens. It is not just about the military lives lost, but the civilians."
Approximately 1,100 airmen lined up, shoulder to shoulder, along the main road of the 144th Fighter Wing to commemorate the 9/11 event at 9 a.m. today.
"It was moving to have almost all the base personnel saluting the flag as it travelled down the road," said Chaplain (Capt.) Donny Crandell. "It is a reminder that we need to defend freedom. We cannot let our guard down for one day."
The opening of the ceremony included the National Anthem. During the start of the song, rain came down from the sky.
"I thought the ceremony was very beautiful," said Senior Airman Leticia Holguin, 144th Security Forces Squadron. "When it started to rain, it was like God shed a tear for the fallen."
The ending of the ceremony had a moment of silence to remember the victims of the attacks.
"We all remember where we were on 9/11," Chaplain Crandell said. "I was in my living room getting ready to go teach at school that day. It made me more aware that an enemy is out there."
The ceremony struck a chord with many members of the fighter wing.
"I was getting ready for school that morning," Airman Holguin said. "My sister called me to her room to show me the TV. I did not want to believe it. It was like a movie preview. When I got to class, everyone was talking about it. It really happened. It is the kind of thing that opened my eyes to the world. I felt so bad for them."
The ceremony was dedicated to the victims of 9/11 as well as the wars fought following the event.
"It is not just about 9/11, but the events and actions taken after the tragedy that have led to where we are at today," Col. Said said.