News: Never forget
Story by Senior Airman Amber Kelly-Herard
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Remembrance ceremonies took place across the world on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
A small population of service members at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia did not let expeditionary conditions impede their ability to join others in showing their respect for those affected by that day.
The events held that day included a 24-hour vigil consisting of runners and walkers around the compound, a 5K run that morning and a 9/11 ceremony.
"Originally we were the only team here and then others started to arrive and then came an outpouring of help, ideas and initiatives that made it easy to see that this would be something memorable to honor those who fought valiantly in a cockpit, rushed into a building while others ran out or pulled their co-workers from a portion in the Pentagon," said Senior Master Sgt. Joe Walsh, 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department fire chief, who is deployed from Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
Due to the expeditionary conditions of the planning committee, the script was not typed, but written by hand. Also, the bell that was used at the end of the ceremony was made from a discharged fire extinguisher.
"We understood that we would be joined by thousands of others around the U.S. remembering the fallen at the same time which redefines who we are not only as individuals, but connects each of our separate career fields into one," said Walsh, a native of the Bronx borough of New York City "For a day, we put aside every thing to join our fallen brothers and sisters."
Coincidentally, the flag used for the 9/11 vigil, was a flag that was here 10 years ago and displayed after the attacks. The flag belongs to Master Sgt. Seth Lash, 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron ground intelligence NCO in charge, who placed the same flag on his Humvee while he was deployed to this same location 10 years ago to demonstrate his patriotism.
"It's been on every deployment with me," said Lash, who is deployed from Shaw AFB, S.C. "I have never even flown it on a plane because I am scared it might get mixed up with other flags, so I fly it from a Humvee or base flag pole."
The flag has been to eight different deployments throughout U.S. Central Command since 1997 with Lash, who is originally from Lickdale, Pa.
For many who were in attendance, the 9/11 ceremony seemed to be a little more special, because it happened while they were deployed.
"Ten years later, leading an effort to transition from the government of Iraq, it brings everything full circle," said Capt. Darryl Hebert, 332nd Expeditionary Force Support Squadron deputy commander, a native of Loreauville, La., and deployed from Spangdahlem, Germany.