by Senior Airman Siuta B. Ika
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
9/11/2013 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members
of Team Osan came together here during a memorial ceremony Sept. 11 to
honor those that lost their lives during the terrorist attacks of Sept.
This year marks the 12th anniversary of 9/11, and the ceremony provided
an opportunity for all to reflect and remember those tragic events that
challenged the nation's resolve.
"It is a privilege to be able to face the reality of what it meant to
our country both on that day and in the days and years afterward," said
Col. Brook Leonard, 51st Fighter Wing commander. "Almost 3,000 innocent
people died that day... That number is very staggering, but hopefully
today it helps us remember that our days are numbered as well. And the
reality of the shortness of life has power and provides perspective to
live life as it ought to be lived."
Leonard also said that although challenging, each and every Airmen could
apply lessons learned from that day to every aspect of their lives.
"Character and building a rewarding life is something that's not found
in leisure, it's found in sacrifice and hard times; it's found through
the experience we get through suffering and doing our best through that
suffering," he said. "We need to realize that each day is a gift and
that we should be thankful for the opportunity that it presents us.
Abraham Lincoln said, 'It's not the years in your life, but it is the
life in those years that count.'"
For some of Team Osan's youngest members - both dependents and active
duty - the ceremony served as one of, if not the only memories of 9/11.
"I just asked my kids, who are in elementary school, if they talked
about it in school and they had no idea," said Master Sgt. Loretta
Washington, one of the ceremony's coordinators and 51st Force Support
Squadron career assistance advisor. "I also talked to my first term
Airmen in class about it and they somewhat remember it, though some of
them were seven years old when it happened. So the aim for today was
really to keep the memory of what happened alive."
In the end, Leonard's message to everyone in attendance was simply to
"never forget" and to use that day to strengthen their dedication to the
"The answers to how we make each day count, how we serve others, or how
we sacrifice for what we feel is important will reveal how well we will
honor the fallen," he said. "We need to remember today and what we can
do to walk away a changed person. Let us never forget."