By Mr. Steve Ball (IMCOM)September 11, 2012
U.S. Army Garrison - Detroit Arsenal, Mich. -- The Detroit Arsenal paid tribute to first responders, military members and extraordinary citizens who lost their lives and performed heroic actions Sept. 11, 2001 during a Patriot Day Ceremony Sept. 11 at the installation flag pole.
The event began with a narration of the day's events of 11 years ago including the times when terrorists and passengers boarded planes, times when the planes hit buildings, time when the passengers of United Airlines flight 93 took their heroic actions and times when the president was notified of what was happening.
Following that a garrison honor guard made up of three firefighters and three police officers marched to the installation flag pole and placed helmets on fire and police boots already placed near the pole in memory of those who lost their lives that day. They then lowered the flag to half staff in honor of Patriot Day. As the honor guard returned to position Chaplain Stephen Demien, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command command chaplain, prayed for the families of those who lost family and friends that day and called for a moment of silence to reflect on those lives lost.
The first guest speaker was Alan Parks, U.S. Army Garrison -- Detroit Arsenal, garrison manager. Parks repeatedly emphasized the theme for the Patriot Day of "never forget."
"(The terrorists) never understood that having compassion and living a life of freedom builds strength and character the like of which caused those passengers (Flight 93), strong, American, innocent souls, when in that moment of need, it gave them strength to rise up and do something courageous… take back control from the terrorists," said Parks. "Their fate became a symbol of defiance against terrorism everywhere in the world."
Emotions were evident throughout the crowd as Parks spoke of the loss and sacrifices as well as the heroic actions taken by first responders and everyday civilians.
Colonel Ronald Shun, TACOM LCMC chief of staff, spoke about how military members stepped up that fateful day and came together to save lives and strengthen the fight against terrorism.
"Let us never forget those who displayed moral courage and showed us that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things when put to the test," said Shun. "The heart of the American Servicemember epitomized teamwork and selfless service -- they showed that day that they will never leave a fallen comrade or that freedom is not free -- it is paid for with the blood, sweat and tears by those who serve for love of others and the country of the red, white and blue."