Story and photos by Airman 1st Class Regan Spinner
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs September 16, 2022
Ramstein service members gathered to remember the lives lost as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks during a ceremony at the fire station on Ramstein Air Base, Sept. 9.
The annual event was held by Airmen assigned to the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron fire and emergency services to honor the estimated 445 first responders who lost their lives 21 years ago.
During the ceremony, Airmen assigned to the 86th CES fire and emergency services presented a ceremonial wreath and performed the sounding of the bell. The mournful toll of a bell is a tradition used in the firefighting community to signify both the completion of the call to action and the passing of a comrade in the line of duty.
“This is our chosen profession,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Horoho, 86th CES firefighter. “This is the tradition of the firefighter to honor those who came before us.”
The ceremony hosted guest speaker Brett Miller, who served as a firefighter in the U.S. Army National Guard on the day of the attacks. He described how he felt while conducting search and rescue operations.
“I can’t put into words what it’s like to not have the power, the equipment, the ability, or the people (to save everyone),” said Miller. “When you can physically toss a flashlight down into a hole to someone and give them hope that we’re getting close when we’re not.”
While Miller was a first responder the day of the attacks and many of the 86th CES firefighters had not joined the military yet, they all had the same calling and now come together each year to pay tribute to their fallen comrades.
“Although our methods may change, our goals remain the same as they were in the past: To save lives and property,” said Horoho.