Wiregrass commemorates 9-11
September 14, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 15, 2011) -- Last week, events across the Wiregrass reflected upon the 10 years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Local commemorations included a presentation on heroes at Fort Rucker Primary School, a patriotic poker run in Daleville and ceremonies with Fort Rucker commanders on post in Enterprise and in Dothan.
Students at Fort Rucker Primary School participated in a program coordinated by the school's music and media teachers Friday. "Celebrating Heroes" was a weeklong FRPS event that focused on heroes in many forms, said Sylvia Thornton, music teacher at FRPS.
"Our focus has been about recognizing those around us who help us. We are excited over this little celebration and the importance of recognizing those who are around us every day and the things they do," said Thornton.
Students learned about the many types of heroes, including Soldiers, parents and even animals. The week of lessons in patriotism and heroism culminated in a program of singing, and presentations by Fort Rucker military police and fire department.
Saturday, the 1st Bn., 223rd Avn. Rgt. and the Daleville Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual 9-11 Memorial Poker Run. At the event, more than 150 motorcyclists drove from Daleville to Troy and back, to honor the victims of the attacks and fallen servicemembers.
Greg Akers, a participant and coordinator of the event, explained why a bike rally was significant to the remembrance events.
"It's a fun event, so it concentrates less on the negativity. Bikers are the most patriotic people around," said Akers.
Sgt. Maj. Micheal Sutterfield, 1st Bn., 223rd Avn. Rgt, added that the poker run was to support the Daleville community by doing something that is not only fun, but has a purpose.
"It's important to enjoy the freedoms that we take for granted," said Sutterfield.
Sunday morning, guests gathered at Howze field for a brief time of prayer and remembrance with Maj. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general.
In his invocation, Chaplain (Col.) Dennis Newton was both solemn and hopeful with his prayers.
"It has been a difficult decade. Now, as we reflect, may we honor the acts of courage that some made in order to finish this mission. We shed our tears in a common bond of grief for those we have loved and lost from our ranks," said Newton.
According to Crutchfield, his remarks were some of the most serious in his year as commanding general. With his words, Crutchfield hoped not only to honor those lost, but urge Soldiers, Family members and civilians to continue to persevere.
"It's almost too beautiful of a day to be memorializing something so sad. We gather to honor nearly 3,000 who lost their lives on that fateful day, September 11, 2001. Also, we honor the men and women in uniform who answered our nation's call and have made the ultimate sacrifice this past decade. That day changed us as a nation," said Crutchfield.
The commanding general also recognized the many foreign guests at the ceremony, thanking them for their loyalty and service.
"Our international partners -- the people who stand side by side with us, bleed and die with us, for what happened to our country 10 years ago today. They're true friends," he said.
Though many have felt the weight of 10 years of deployments, Crutchfield was optimistic that the Army and the nation will remain strong.
"How much can we endure? For me, for us, for our generation, the answer is for as long as it takes. Just as earlier generations of Americans overcame great tests of turmoil, the 9-11 generation has risen to the challenge [with the] support of our Families, communities, and foreign partners. The pride of our nation is what fuels us," said Crutchfield.
Also on Sunday, Col. James A. Muskopf, Fort Rucker garrison commander, served as guest speaker at a ceremony in Dothan, where he spoke about loss, the importance of heroes and America's resolve in the face of adversity.
"How we remember that day is a mark of our resilient American spirit," Muskopf told the hundreds in attendance. "Our enemy hoped that day would replace freedom with fear, but it didn't -- it did the opposite. It bolstered our resolve and became a defining moment in what would become the next great generation."
Muskopf echoed Crutchfield's statements when reflecting on the generation who saw the 9-11 attacks and chose to give their lives to preserve the nation.
"They are heroes and very much a part of the 9-11 generation who, knowing the risk, they choose to put on their uniform every morning and risk their safety for us," he added. "Today we feel proud as a nation -- we didn't sit back and feel sorry for ourselves. We took action, we stood together then, and we still do today, and this is why we will never be defeated."