Servicemen gather for moving 9/11 ceremony
- Credit: Gregg Brown
American servicemen at RAF Mildenhall paid tribute to their fellow countrymen who lost their lives on 9/11 at a moving ceremony held on the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on US soil.
Airmen at the Suffolk base vowed never to forget the tragedies which cost 3,000 people their lives on September 11, 2001, when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC.
The event started with a bell-ringing session in honour of the firefighters who died in the attacks.
In the US, bells are rung at the funeral of firefighters as a mark of respect to indicate the end of their 'shift' and a job well done.
It was followed by a prayer for those who lost their lives on 9/11 before Chief Master Sergeant Christopher Mohr gave a speech about that fateful day.
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'As we gather this afternoon, a lot of us remember those who lost their lives on that tragic day,' he said.
'We must ensure we never forget the lessons learned on that tragic day.'
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Despite the heroic efforts of firefighters and first responders on that day, some of whom lost their lives, he said the attacks had revealed faults in US emergency response system. Changes have since been brought in to help put that right, he said, such as moving away from a 'rigid role-based system to a threat-based system'.
'Our country has learned from the events of 9/11 and we will continue to learn until we get it right,' he said. 'Today is a day to look back and honour the memories of those who gave so much.'
The ceremony finished with the playing of the British and American national anthems and a 21-gun salute. Staff Sergeant Alex Wagner, who helped to organise the event, said afterwards: '9/11 has had a profound effect on me and my family. It has definitely united us as a country. It gave us a lot of resilience and taught us that we can bond together as a country.'