A tribute to 9/11

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- Let me set the record straight, I am not in the military, but I was. In fact, I served active duty here at March long before most of the Airmen I work with were even born. I volunteered to serve during another war, one even more unpopular than the one we are fighting now. I did not stay in the military, and I am not retired from the military. The fact is that I served exactly three years four months and five days in the U.S. Air Force. But I am proud of that service and proud to be back here at March ARB as a state employee. 

The fact is that I am a patriot. I love this country with every inch of my heart, and would still be willing to lay down my life in defense of my country. I doubt you will find too many people here at March any more patriotic than I am. The attack on our nation on Sept. 11, 2001 cut deep into my heart the way it did many Americans. 

Several years ago I was working on a tribute ride for 9/11. It was only two years after the attack. While talking to one of my friends (a technical sergeant), I remarked about the fact that I felt the three groups who had paid the highest price were the firemen, the peace officers, and the military. I felt that it was important to bring these three groups together in tribute of that tragic event. To my surprise he looked at me and said, "I understand the firemen and the peace officers, but what does the military have to do with it?" I couldn't believe what I had just heard. I looked at him and said, "Do you remember a plane hitting our Pentagon?" I was in shock when he looked at me and said he had forgotten that. Then I reminded him that the "War on Terrorism" started that day, and that American soldiers were dying in some faraway sandbox because of that event. Only then did he agree that our military had suffered more than any other group as a result of that attack. 

Now I am too old to go back into the military to fight. In fact, I am probably just too old to fight at all, but on that day, I swore that as long as I could still throw my leg over the saddle of my motorcycle, that I would ride in tribute every year on 9/11. I do this ride and take all of my own personal time organizing this event so that people like that technical sergeant, will never forget 9/11 or that sacrifices that have been made and are still being made every day. 

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank each and every one of you who serve our country.