9/11 Attacks Remembered during 177th Fighter Wing Memorial Dedication and Deployer Send-off

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Darion Boyd
  • 177th Fighter Wing

ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, New Jersey. – The 177th Fighter Wing held a ceremony on Sept. 11, 2023, to dedicate a memorial erected in remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy, sacrifice, and heroism of that day 22 years ago and to recognize Airmen preparing to deploy to Southwest Asia.

The ceremony consisted of the official unveiling of the memorial, distinguished speakers providing first-hand accounts of the 9/11 attacks, a formation of Airmen representing the deployers, and laying five commemorative wreaths.

“The 9/11 attacks were horrific, but they brought our country together,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Derek B. Routt, 177th Fighter Wing commander. “If our younger troops can see what it meant to us, maybe they’ll gain a new perspective on their mission and how important their mission is.”

Frank LoBiondo, former Congressman for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, served as the keynote speaker for the event. LoBiondo, who served as a Congressman during the 9/11 attacks, spoke about the lessons and perspectives Americans should take after the 9/11 attacks.

“We learned a lot in the days afterward of the heroism of the New York Fire Department, the New York Police Department, and the Port Authority,” said LoBiondo. “We have to make sure we understand the sacrifices that were made, not only 22 years ago, but the sacrifices that continue to be made today. It’s going to take everyone to keep us from another attack.”

Congressman LoBiondo was joined by New Jersey’s 1st Congressional District Congressman Donald Norcross, who echoed his sentiment.

“That’s the spirit of America, that we all do this together,” said Norcross. “I can’t thank the men and women in uniform enough for everything they’ve done in the past and what will be asked of them in the future.”

Also in attendance was New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District Congressman Jeff Van Drew, who spoke to the military response and sense of security that armed service members provide.

“There is nothing that can be said that represents how much America depends on you, how much you mean to us, and how much we love all of you,” said Van Drew. “I’d like to extend our wishes, blessings, and hopes for safety to those who are going to be deployed.”

The memorial is constructed from two steel beams recovered from ground zero, the shape and size of which represent the twin towers, mounted atop a cement base formed in the shape of the Pentagon. The ceremony concluded with the laying of five floral wreaths symbolizing the north tower, the south tower, the Pentagon, Flight 93, and the lives lost in the aftermath of the attacks.

“It was an honor to bring us all together for this ceremony, from our congressmen to the community members, to the members of the 177th Fighter Wing that helped construct the memorial,” said Routt. “I hope our younger airmen take away some perspective from this experience and remember the pain that our country felt that day.”