9/11 remembrance ceremony honors heroes
September 18, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - More than 200 Soldiers and civilians gathered to remember the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Friday, at the Main Post Chapel, here.
They honored those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil eight years ago, as well as those who continue to stand in harm's way while in the service of their country.
The service, called "Honoring Our Heroes: Remembering Our Fallen of 9/11," was sponsored by members of the 8th Sustainment Brigade's Unit Ministry Team (UMT). It featured reflections and prayers offered by spiritual leaders and military family members, and inspirational music by several performers, including the eight-member ensemble, God's Glory Community Choir of Charlotte, N.C.
Throughout the program, guests were treated to a slide show at the front of the chapel, replete with pictures of the Sept. 11th attacks and of Soldiers in deployment - a poignant reminder to all of the fragility of life.
Col. Timothy Ryan, commander, 8th Sustainment Brigade (Provisional), invited guests to recall exactly how they felt once they learned of the events surrounding Sept. 11, 2001. Then, he asked those in attendance to remember their thoughts and emotions on the day following the attacks.
"Sometimes, we get a little numb to it all, as to what we're doing ... why we're here," said Ryan. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, he added, "we are all committed to doing something about it."
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Leonardo Jamias, 130th Engineer Brigade, encouraged those in attendance to have a "firmness of mind and love in our hearts for those whose lives were shortened."
Jamias also reminded Soldiers and their families of the source of their strength, and the courage they'll need to be standard-bearers of all that is good.
"Although we gather in humility on this day when our flags are at half mast, God has blessed us with an indomitable spirit, a spirit that, though things around may happen, we should never live in fear, but continue to stand for that which is just, righteous, true, pure and holy," Jamias said.
Nancy Wheatley, a military spouse, talked about the risks families face when husbands and wives are sent downrange. Dreams must often be "put on hold," she said, and families are never promised the safe return of their loved one from deployment.
And yet, there is a "nobility of spirit," a trait she finds highly admirable, by all those who are called to serve.
"Some things are just worth sacrificing for," Wheatley said. "Some things are bigger than yourself."
Still, a hero should not be a designation reserved solely for Soldiers, she carefully noted.
"Look around you," Wheatley challenged audience members. "(Heroes) are the military spouses. They are the military children."
At the conclusion of the program, Pastor Virginia Domligan of The Prayer Center of the Pacific asked guests to join hands and observe a moment of silence before offering a tearful supplication on behalf of "the families of our heroes."