BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
First responders, military members and community members gathered at Liberty Garden, located at the Bossier City Municipal Complex, to honor heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice 16 years ago during the events of Sept. 11, and to continue thanking those first responders who bravely serve their communities today.
During the city’s annual 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony, Brig. Gen. Jonathan Ellis, Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, Eighth Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and Joint Functional Component Commander for Global Strike, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Neb., served as the event’s key note speaker.
“For those who paid the ultimate price, are those whose lives are lost,” Ellis said. “This is a time to remember those we lost, and those lives who were forever changed by the events of Sept. 11. But I submit to you that’s it’s also a time of celebration, for recognition of national resilience of a higher calling, and selfless dedication to a cause higher than ourselves.”
Ellis cited historical events, such as the battle of Iwo Jima and the bravery of the Doolittle Raiders, as symbolic reminders of patriotism throughout American history. On Sept. 11, 2001, President of the United States, George W. Bush, landed at Barksdale Air Force Base, escorted by then Eighth Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. Thomas Keck. Along the flight line stood a fleet of 2nd Bomb Wing B-52 Stratofortress’, and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 917th Wing, who were ready to defend our nation at a moments notice.
“Those bombers were ready because the greatest Airmen in the world made them ready,” Ellis added. “They made them ready then, and they make them ready now. There are those all over the world who want to destroy our ideals and our constitution, but it’s our Airmen, our warriors who won’t let that happen. Our young men and women who serve our country have the same drive, passion and patriotism as those who served before them.”
Continuing the tradition of service and patriotism, Ellis reenlisted a Barksdale Air Force Base Airman who will serve five more years to carry out his 20 year-long U.S. Air Force career.
Tech Sgt. Brandon Henry, 2nd Force Support Squadron and Barksdale Honor Guard noncommissioned officer in charge, who joined after the Sept. 11 tragedy, chose to reenlist for the last time in front of his local community.
“Sept. 11 has always been a day of remembrance for me, and to do my last reenlistment on this day in front of a crowd of civic and military leaders of Bossier City is a special event for me,” Henry said.
The ceremony ended with an invocation which joined first responders and community members together during a time of peace and reflection. A large American flag that proudly waved over the ceremony was delicately lowered and folded by Bossier City first responders.