9-11...Never Forget, Never Surrender Our March For Freedom

  • Published
  • By Col. Brian Newberry
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander
Sept. 11, 2001-Patriot Day--is a day we as Americans must never forget...ever. The inspiration of freedom was attacked that day. A terrorist enemy sought to take away our economic and political freedoms.

They failed.

America is too strong and we have shown our resolve over the last 12 years standing strong in the War on Terror.

The attack did change our country, our lifestyle and, certainly, our ideas on public safety. The debate on public surveillance or security processes at the airport highlights how our freedoms were impacted on that tragic day.

What the attack did not do was change our thirst for liberty. Author Robert McCracken reminds us, "We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs, but to secure liberty."

Rome set the standard for giving civilization the law. America has given the world the shining beacon of liberty. As our Liberty Bell proudly states: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."

On Patriot Day, I humbly ask that we reflect on the day terrorists attacked our citizens and our cities, in their attempt to diminish our liberties. It is a day we must hold with the same reverence as other patriotic days when American freedom was called out, like Bunker Hill, the Alamo, Gettysburg and Pearl Harbor.

That reverence extends to the 2,977 innocent 9/11 victims, and we should likewise honor the thousands of military members who gave their lives on the front lines in the War on Terror, over 7,000 patriots to date. This includes our fallen Airmen who sadly perished in our KC-135 crash last May. They, too, were patriots answering the call to defend freedom by fueling the fight over the skies of Afghanistan.

As we move forward, our charge is to remember the day's significance. I was struck by my time serving in the National Capitol Region, and how our 9/11 remembrance marches started with thousands marching in support, but over the years it dwindled to where the march was eventually canceled.

Time marches on, but we as Americans should always take a moment to pause and remember our fallen patriots this Sept. 11. We should also not forget our hard won freedoms... a privilege, not a birthright, and our nation's calling. Lest we forget, last 9/11, our ambassador in Libya and his staff was attacked by terrorists. Freedom remains on the march, but the road remains uneven and steep . We know freedom is never free.

No doubt, America and Fairchild Air Force Base are up to the challenge. Our resolve is firm and our memory is strong. Our Wing will have a retreat on Sept. 11 to pause and reflect...to pause and recommit to keeping American freedom on the march.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared:

"Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die."
Likewise, our indomitable spirit is propelled forward by the inspiration of those like Todd Beamer, who when faced with ultimate adversity on Flight 93, simply said "Let's Roll." As Airmen, we always roll and have a tanker with that nose art proudly flying in this Wing to remind of us of that charge.

We will never falter, we will not fail and we will never forget the courage and sacrifice of American Patriots on 9/11.