Service members remember 9/11
Photos and story by Sgt. Ryan Twist
139th public affairs
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — On Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush said, “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward—Freedom will be defended.”
Even after eight years, most service members say they can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when the attacks happened.
“I was in history class watching a movie on the TV,” said Spc. Thomas A. Richards, a machinist and metal fabricator, with the 514th Maintenance Company out of Fort Drum, N.Y. “I was shocked because I thought I was watching a movie and then found out it was CNN.”
Service members observed a moment of silence at 8a.m. at Holt Stadium, many of whom participated in the Air Force Half Marathon earlier that morning.
Richards, a Dutton, Ala. native, was one of these. He said the events of 9/11 were one reason he joined the military.
The run was a meaningful and fun way to remember 9/11, he said.
Spc. Craig W. Hodges, also a metal worker and fabricator with the 514th, and a Shelbyville, Ind. native, who ran the half marathon earlier that morning, was in high school when the attacks occurred. Watching the events of that day and knowing the number of lives affected, and ended, motivated him to join the Army, he said.
Hodges said when not deployed, he and his family spend time together on Sept. 11.
Richards said his family barbeques and spends time together as well.
“Everybody needs to remember the people who lost their lives,” said Richards.
Spc. Thomas A. Richards, a machinist and metal fabricator, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Troy L. Feuston, the officer in charge of the Allied Trades technicians, both with the 514th Maintenance Company out of Fort Drum, N.Y., bow their heads during a moment of silence Sept. 11 at Holt Stadium here on Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Richards, a Dutton, Ala. native, and Feuston, a Lecanto, Fla. native, ran the Air Force Half Marathon earlier that morning before the ceremony, which honored the casualties of 9/11.