Kunsan Airmen pay homage to 9/11 with silent walk

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 8th Fighter Wing honored the 13th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, by attending a remembrance ceremony and silent walk at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

Spearheaded by Kunsan's 5/6, the Wolf Pack paid homage during a silent walk to honor the 2,977 innocent lives lost on 9/11, followed by a remembrance ceremony with opening remarks from Col. Jeffery "Wolf II" Valenzia, 8 FW vice commander.

"Most of you can recall where you were and what you were doing," said Wolf II. "For you, that day is seared into your memories. Today we are honored to hear from some of you to learn where you were on that day; to hear how it impacted your life then and how it impacts your life now. Your stories are our stories."

Following Valenzia's opening remarks, Tech. Sgt. Mykal Donathan, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge, cannibalization dock, and Staff Sgt. Diron Smith, 8th Comptroller Squadron deputy dispersing officer, volunteered their personal accounts of 9/11 and how it impacted their lives and their decision to enlist in the U.S. Air Force.

Donathan said he was a bartender in Miami when one of his coworkers, David, announced he was joining the U.S. Marine Corps two days after Sept. 11.

Inspired by his coworker's decision, he saw an Air Force recruiter and enlisted in 2002. Since then, Donathan continues to serve to honor David and those who were directly affected by the 9/11 tragedies.

The event served not only to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but also as a reminder to Wolf Pack Airmen of the American freedoms they ensure every day as defenders of the base against external threats in wartime and armistice alongside ROK allies.

"9/11 is a sobering reminder that there are terrorist factions and other adversaries that willfully intend to do us harm," said Chief Master Sgt. Samel "Sheriff Chief" Brown, 8th Security Forces Squadron security forces manager. "The 9/11 silent walk and ceremony should serve as a constant reminder to the Wolf Pack that we must always be ready to strike and eliminate an adversary if and when called upon by our nation."

Although more than a decade has passed since Sept. 11, time will never replace the lives lost on that day. At the exact time each plane crashed, Kunsan's loudspeaker reminded the Wolf Pack to take a moment of silence to honor those who perished that day.

"This remembrance cannot replace our losses," said Chief Master Sgt. David "Devil Chief" Milne, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent. "But this remembrance [ceremony] can provide a solemn place to remember and to mourn. Let this remembrance provide all of us here with a daily reminder to take nothing for granted. Appreciate our freedoms, count our blessings, strive to help our fellow man and cherish our friends and families. Let this remembrance serve as a reminder of the American spirit which burns in all of us."