Remembering 9/11

Ron Roen salutes the American flag that a military working dog handler is holding.

Retired U.S. Lt. Cmdr. Ron Roen presents an American flag to Staff Sgt. Aaron Catron, 55th Security Forces military working dog handler, during the 9/11 Commemorative Ceremony Sept. 11, 2019, inside Offutt’s fire station at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. These flags were flown over the U.S. Strategic Command headquarters building and the NE State Capitol in honor of our emergency responders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Charles J. Haymond)

Firefighter strikes the four fives.

Ezer Garcia, 55th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, rings the ceremonial bell during the 9/11 Commemorative Ceremony Sept. 11, 2019, inside Offutt’s fire station at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. When a firefighter died in the line of duty or when some important official died, headquarters would transmit five bell strikes, repeated in four series, with a slight pause between each series, followed by the announcement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Charles J. Haymond)


The Offutt Fire Department hosted a 9/11 commemorative ceremony inside the main fire station Sept. 11, 2019, here.

Eighteen years ago, the United States lost 2,977 individuals during a terroristic attacks at the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Of the 2,977 individuals who lost their lives, 412 were firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians.

Offutt will forever be tied to the tragic events that occurred on that day. President George W. Bush made various stops during this incident. One of those was to Offutt, the home of U.S. Strategic Command and the 55th Wing.

“We cannot be lulled into the same false sense of security as many of our countrymen, we must train and prepare,” said David Eblin, 55th Civil Engineer Squadron fire chief. “We must be ready for the attack today and hope that it never comes.”

Eblin provided opening comments for the ceremony followed by the ceremonial guard member striking the four fives. This custom of ringing a bell five times in four separate series dates back as far as 1865 to announce the death of Abraham Lincoln, and it continues to be used to acknowledge the lives of firefighters or important officials.  

Retired U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ron Roen honored those lost on 9/11 by presenting three commemorative American flags to Offutt’s first responders. These flags were flown over the USSTRATCOM headquarters and the Nebraska State Capitol.

The ceremony ended with Chaplain (Capt.) Robert Rose, 55th Wing chaplain, rendering a prayer of protection for first responders here and abroad. 

“We do not know when we will be attacked again, but we must never forget the possibility that tomorrow could be the day, or today could be the day of an attack yet to be waged,” Eblin said. “We will steadfastly stand proud, strong, ready and undeterred from performing our life saving mission.”