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    Niagara Airman recalls 9/11 at ground zero

    Troops salute flag during 9/11 ceremony

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Tate Pollock | Army ROTC Purple Battalion cadets salute an American Flag during a 9/11 remembrance...... read more read more

    NY, UNITED STATES

    09.11.2021

    Story by Staff Sgt. Tate Pollock 

    914th Air Refueling Wing

    NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. - Twenty years after the September 11th Terrorist attacks, members of the Niagara community gathered in front of Niagara University to remember.

    “The streets were covered with thick ash and the air was filled with smoke. It was an eerie feeling and one that will be planted in my mind as long as I live,” said Master Sgt. Tara Wichtowski, Commander Support Staff, 914th Air Refueling Wing, Security Forces Squadron. “I watched as firefighters marched in and out and I watched families drive in to have moments of silence as they felt the pain of the loss they had endured.”

    A similar moment of silence was held during the ceremony at Niagara University. Side by side, military, police, firefighter and civilian paused to reflect while just behind the podium waved 2,977 mini-American flags. One for each of the lives lost that day.

    “One moment that really sits with me was at ground zero when a young man walked towards me. I stopped him and informed him he could not enter the area for safety reasons,” recalled Wichtowski. “He stopped and started crying. I remember asking if he was ok and after a pause, he said, ‘My best friend was a firefighter. He was off today. He called and told me he was headed here to help. My friend never came out of the building.’ All I could think to do was hug him.”

    Wichtowski was only a year into her military career when these attacks shook the nation, but it is still something that she carries with her every day.

    “I will never forget. It’s something we say every year at this time but for me, that is a daily thought. I will never forget.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.11.2021
    Date Posted: 09.13.2021 14:23
    Story ID: 405104
    Location: NY, US

    Web Views: 17
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN