JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska –
The Alaska National Guard hosted a September 11th remembrance ceremony at the Alaska National Guard armory one day before the 20th anniversary of the events that transpired in 2001.
The ceremony began with an invocation by Chaplain Ted McGovern, the state command chaplain. Following this was the national anthem, sang by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Anne Toms, property book officer for the 297th Regional Support Group.
“I think today was important because a lot of us needed an opportunity to remember those who have died,” said McGovern. “I know it was important for me, and for all of us, to remember the events of 9/11, and remember those who died: the victims, the first responders, but also since then in the Global War on Terror – all of our brothers and sisters in arms who have deployed and payed the ultimate price for freedom.”
“I think it was really important that we honored that today,” he said.
Master Sgt. Melissa Branch, the AKARNG religious affairs noncommissioned officer, recounted her firsthand experiences from that day when she was in the U.S. Marine Corps as chaplain’s assistant for the 14th Chaplain of the Marine Corps in the Pentagon.
“This was a day that led to many sleepless nights, and it’s also a day I will never forget.”
Additional Guardsmen took turns at the podium to recognize the American lives lost on that day, and since then in GWOT with moments of silence.
After the playing of taps, Brig. Gen. Wayne Don, the director of the AKNG Joint Staff, spoke about individuals he had personally served with, and other Alaska Guardsmen who had lost their lives in the GWOT.
“More than anything else as I started to reflect on the loss and the cost of the GWOT in terms of the Soldiers and leaders that I’ve met over the years and served with who are not with us, it really brought a lot of emotion,” said Don.