News>Airmen, Coalition partners remember 11th anniversary of 9/11
Deployed U.S. Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and service members from coalition forces render honors during the playing of the National Anthem during the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony held here today. More than 200 U.S. and coalition forces joined together to observe the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Russell Martin)
The bronze memorial remembering Airman 1st Class Raymond Losano, who lost his life April 23, 2003 during the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom, stands as a backdrop to the day’s 9/11 Memorial Ceremony here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Russell Martin)
U.S. and coalition forces bow their heads during the benediction as part of the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony held here today. Kandahar is home to nearly 30,000 coalition members from nearly 40 nations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Russell Martin)
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Dennis (left), 451st Air Expeditionary Wing and Kandahar Airfield (NATO) commander, and Chief Master Sgt. David Brinkley, 451st AEW command chief, lay a wreath honoring the lives lost at the World Trade Center in New York City, Sept. 11, 2001, in a memorial ceremony here today. The ceremony marked the 11-year anniversary of the tragedy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Russell Martin)
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Dennis, 451st Air Expeditionary Wing and Kandahar Airfield (NATO) commander, gives his remarks during a memorial ceremony here today remembering those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Russell Martin/RELEASED)
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Gray, 3rd Infantry Division bandsman, plays Taps as 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Honor Guardsmen lower the lower the flag to half-staff during a memorial ceremony here today. More than 200 U.S. and coalition forces joined together to observe the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Russell Martin)
by Capt. Frank Hartnett
451st Air Expeditionary Wing
9/11/2012 - KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan -- On a cool, cloudy morning, Airmen and ISAF coalition partners joined ranks and began their day with a solemn ceremony marking the 11th anniversary of attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 here.
More than 200 personnel gathered at Camp Losano for a ceremony that included a wreath laying, official remarks and the playing of taps as the American flag was flown at half-staff.
Brig. Gen. Scott Dennis, Kandahar Airfield and 451st Air Expeditionary Wing, commander, used the event to remind attendees of the scale of the attacks and its legacy 11 years later.
"We remember the attacks on the morning of September 11th, 2001," said Dennis. "19 Al -Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes and attacked the United States. Nearly 3,000 people were killed initially in the attacks across 93 nations."
Prior to the attacks, Afghanistan had been a safe haven for terrorists and other forces aligned against the United States.
"Al-Qaeda launched these attacks from their base in Afghanistan with the support of the Taliban," said Dennis.
On that terrible day over a decade ago, the country did not stand alone. The international community quickly took action and continues their support today.
"Today we also remember the world's response. The attacks were denounced by governments worldwide. Across the globe, countries offered Americans their support and solidarity." Said Dennis.
The ceremony was originally planned as an event for the wing but soon grew into a larger event encompassing all units at KAF. Event planners quickly adjusted and expanded the ceremony to include partner nations that have offered their support on the front lines of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"I felt solemn and proud," said Senior Master Sgt. Shane Kaiser, 73rd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, superintendent. "Solemn because of the reason we were here together today remembering those lost lives in the attacks of 9/11. But proud to have the opportunity to share this ceremony of remembrance and reflection with our coalition partners."
Before concluding the ceremony General Dennis offered remarks on the coalition's current status and the future of the Afghanistan.
"The story of 9/11 is as much of what this coalition is doing today as it is about the attacks 11 years ago. Our coalition is not just about punishing those who hatched the plan to attack us," said Dennis. "It's about us giving the Afghans a brighter, peaceful future.
"This noble cause, this coalition, is what separates us from those who would attack us. This large multi-nation team is fighting alongside our Afghan partners to secure a better future for the people of Afghanistan, and we do it here at KAF, the home of the insurgency."