Osan remembers 9/11 with ceremony, 110-story stair climb
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Fourteen years separates us from the destruction that shook America. Exactly 2,977 innocent lives were taken that fateful day on Sept. 11, 2001. We cannot and will not forget that day.
On Sept. 11, 2015, 25 Airmen, firefighters and security forces, all from the 51st Fighter Wing, took to a 13-story family apartment complex here and climbed its stairs. They climbed it a little more than nine full iterations to reach 110 stories, the same amount of floors in the World Trade Center.
"We did the 9/11 memorial stair climb to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the World Trade Center," said Staff Sgt. Sabrina Nicholson 51st Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter. "Firefighting is in my blood. My grandfather did it, my dad did it, and it doesn't matter whether you passed away here or in the states, we're all connected by a brotherhood and sisterhood. So it's really paying respects to your family."
In addition to the stair climb, emergency workers had a silent movement of their vehicles to the ceremony site, led by a medic, firefighter and a security forces member and his military working dog.
"It's been 4,748 days since that fateful morning, but no amount of time can diminish the pain and loss of that day," said Senior Master Sgt. William Taylor, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron deputy fire chief. "However, this day sparked a sense of patriotism within our nation in what I can only compare ... [to] that of Dec. 7, 1941, and just as the attack on Pearl Harbor defined a generation, so too did the attacks on the World trade Center."
Taylor explained in his eight-minute speech that although these attacks dealt a hefty blow to the face America, it was the perseverance we showed that kept the nation moving forward and in the fight.
"The attacks ... left us with an image of how tyranny, oppression, hatred and malice can distort a group's ideology," said Taylor. "But where there are wicked and malevolent, you will also find the virtuous and noble; those who stand in defiance [of evil]."
The day's events winded down and the mood of the audience fell silent as the wreaths of remembrance were placed in front of one of Osan AB's fire trucks, signifying the losses in New York, the Pentagon and in the fields of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
"In defense of our nation and coalition partners we will never waiver in the pursuit of freedom and democracy against those who choose to oppress it," said Taylor. "We will never falter ... because of the few that have uncommon valor and courage with the ability to act at just the right time, in just the right place and for just the right reasons."