MALMSTROM AFB — September 11, 2001 - more than 3,000 people lost their lives in the senseless terrorist attack in New York City and Washington, D.C.
On Friday, Malmstrom Air Force Base conducted a ceremony to remember those who perished.
“For our generation 9/11 is our 'never forget' moment,” said Colonel Daniel Voorhies, the vice-commander of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom.
Colonel Voorhies encouraged senior service members to share memories with those in the service who don’t have a personal connection with the attack - or may not even have been born at the time: “It’s up to use to remind these airmen what it was like on September 11, for those that lost their lives when we were attacked by terrorists. We can not forget this moment in our nation’s history. We have to explain what it was like when we watched the planes hit the towers.”
The ceremony featured speakers who shared their experience the day of the attack, bagpipes played “Amazing Grace," and a ceremonial bell was rung to honor fallen firefighters.
“The idea of giving a small piece of us, and we remember what those heroes tried to do for the victims of a senseless attack,” said Chief Master Sergeant Corey Coleman.
Coleman is three weeks new to Malmstrom, coming from being stationed in Qatar. He helps run the Malmstrom Fire Department and recalled his experience being deployed. Following the attack on U.S. he was deployed to the Middle East and in his 26-years of service, nearly his entire career has surrounded the aftermath of 9/11.
Captain Isaac Bacon of the 341st Medical Group at Malmstrom explained that his father served two deployments in Iraq following September 11, 2001. His father’s service in the armed forces is what drove him to enlist.
“That sacrifice. It's kind of agnostic of your specific profession. It's something that seeps in everything, and I got to see it firsthand with my father.”
Civilian counterparts also shared their perspective. The chaplain of the Missoula Rural Fire District Casey Gunter has 30 years of law enforcement experience. He led the congregation in prayer and talked about where he was on that day, saying it left a hole in his heart.
Rooted in faith, he noted: “We all are priceless. We can’t forget to take care of each other.”
Gunter values life more than many - from losing his son in 1987, to working in the line of duty as a police officer and surviving a severe motorcycle crash.
After the planes hit the towers, he knew he had a job to do when troops deployed following 9/11.
“One of the messages we got from the military - 'we’ll go take care of our nation; you take care of our families.'” He added with tears in his eyes, “We took that to heart. You guys go take care of our country. We’ll stay here. We’ll take care of the families.”