News: Madigan Healthcare System hosts 9/11 remembrance ceremony
Story by Sgt. Mark Miranda
JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD, Wash. – On Tuesday, those who work and live at Joint Base Lewis-McChord took time to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001, at several observances.
Fire stations on JBLM took a moment of silence at 5:46 a.m. (PST), the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center tower, Sept. 11, 2001. For law enforcement personnel, there was a moment of silence at the three shift change formations throughout the day. Firefighters, police and guards wore badge shrouds that day. The Four Chaplains Memorial Chapel on JBLM Lewis Main was open for prayer and meditation to remember the events of 9/11. The chapel’s candles remained lit all day in memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11.
Madigan Healthcare System hosted a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at 11:30 a.m., Sept. 11, at the Madigan pond. The ceremony featured comments from Madigan leadership and reflection time for staff and visitors.
“It challenged our nation’s mettle,” said Col. Dallas Homas, commander, Madigan Army Medical Center. “As a result of those events and the thousands of lives lost it launched us into a whole new era. It changed the way our society thinks, it changed the way our Army thinks and functions.”
“We must always remember the events of that day and note the sacrifices as we approach 11 years of war that were the result of 9/11.”
Several students from Evergreen Elementary School participated in a quiet walk around the pond in remembrance. Amid the pond’s fountains and swans, a sign with gold numbers nine and eleven floated on the water’s surface.
“A lot of these kids weren’t alive on Sept. 11, 2001, but the events of that day are part of our nation’s history,” Homas said. “These kids need to understand the events of that day and the way our nation responded, so it’s a part of their history as well. Knowing what happened to their fathers and grandfathers, this nation – I think is very important.”
Sgt. 1st Class Andre Battles, medical lab tech who attended the ceremony, joined the Army only a few months before that fateful day.
“I remember I was at [advanced individual training] Fort Sam Houston, and our instructors and drill sergeants were trying to keep things orderly that morning,” Battles said. “They moved us to places we could watch the news coverage. We didn’t know what would happen, only that we’d just joined an Army that was going to war.”
“But I’d always wanted to be a soldier; it’s a family tradition and a proud one. My uncle was killed in Iraq fighting in Fallujah in 2004, so 9/11 holds a lot of meaning, when I think of the impact it would have on my family,” Battles said.
The guest speaker at the remembrance was Lt. Col. Ralph Deatherage, troop commander, Madigan Army Medical Center. Deatherage served in Washington, D.C. during the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
“In the last 11 years, more than 1.3 million men and women have deployed in our nation’s defense, many from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in support of operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan,” Deatherage said.
“We faced profound challenges after 9/11,” Deatherage said. “After more than a decade of conflict we face more changes and challenges, but one thing remains constant – the Army’s most valuable asset is its people. We will continue to stand by our soldiers and their families as they face the challenges that lie ahead.”
The students of Evergreen Elementary took a few moments to speak about what 9/11 means to them. Many talked about parents who were deployed, one who had a grandfather who was a firefighter killed during the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Brady, Madigan Army Medical Center, spoke on the significance of this anniversary.
“Today is very much a reminder that there’s evil in this world and that there’s people who hate us just for our beliefs. Nine-eleven was a very profound day for me,” Brady said.
“What resulted after 9/11 is why I came into the Army – to be a soldier. I do not want to see my family or anybody else’s under attack and days like this anniversary steel your resolve and make you feel that what you are doing on a daily basis is so important. My family and I will sleep quietly knowing that there’s soldiers at the gates, that there’s soldiers in foreign lands who are defending us every day.”