PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. --
In a ceremony held on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 157th Air Refueling Wing and guests in attendance for the Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show, paid tribute the men and women who lost their lives that unforgettable day.
“Sept. 11 did not cripple us as a nation,” said Tech. Sgt. Kayla McWalter, the master of ceremonies. “Instead it brought out the best in all of us. Our story is how we responded in the face of this attack, with courage, resolve and unity.”
Since 9/11 over 3,300 New Hampshire National Guardsmen have deployed overseas in support of combat operations.
“We began deploying Soldiers and Airmen in an unrelenting pursuit of those responsible,” said Maj. Gen. David J. Mikolaities, the adjutant general of New Hampshire. “Grief is not the legacy of 9/11, our legacy is how this country responded to adversity. Here at Pease the response was almost immediate. The same night we were supporting combat air patrols in American airspace over what would soon become known as ground zero over New York and Washington D.C.”
2,996 lives were lost on 9/11 between the attacks on the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon and Shanksville Pennsylvania. The terrorist attacks remain the deadliest in American History.
Maj. Michelle Mastrobattista, administration officer for the 157th Medical Group, also spoke and reminded those in attendance of America’s immeasurable strength of heart.
“When we collectively stop and reflect on that day, an innumerable amount of emotions begins to flow from our memory and through our veins,” she said. “When all of the possible emotions are tallied up it equates to one thing, the essence of the American Spirit.”
She went on to praise the brave men and women of the United States who did not cower from service in the years following the attacks on 9/11. They became firefighters, police officers, pilots, EMTs and soldiers who would inevitably retaliate against those who attacked our nation.
“The American Spirit is what motivates, invigorates and activates us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise,” she added.
Mikolaities closed his remarks by reminding the gathered crowd of the important role the National Guard plays in our nation's defense.
“For those of us in uniform, 9/11 has strengthened our resolve to defend our nation,” said Mikolaities. “We remain ready at our nation's call to protect our citizens and we continue to remain vigilant and prepared to ensure nothing like this happens again.”