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September 14, 2012

Team March remembers, honors 9-11 victims

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by Linda Welz
452 AMW public affairs
120911-F-EQ386-003
March Air Reserve Base Fire Captain Michael Goodman, rings the fire bell, as Inspector Timothy Wade stands by, in rememberance of the vicitms of 9-11, during a standing-room-only ceremony at the March Chapel Sept. 11, 2012. The 30-minute ceremony was led by March Chaplain Aaron Klaves and included a moment of silence following the ringing of the bell. (U.S. Air Force photo/Linda Welz)

Chaplain Aaron Klaves, 452nd Air Mobility Wing, held a 9-11 memorial service Tuesday, Sept. 11, to remember and honor victims of the terrorist acts in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., 11 years ago.

“In the fabric of space and time, we all played a part in that moment,” Klaves said.

The chapel was filled to capacity with guests lining the walls and overflowing into the foyer as Klaves opened the service in prayer, then recalled what he was doing when the news of the first plane that hit the Twin Towers came across the television — getting ready to leave for work as an intern in a Las Vegas church.

“I remember saying to my roommate, ‘Tim, this is big!’” Klaves said. “I remember it so vividly. When I got to work we were at a standstill, glued to the TV. People were calling the church wanting to know if we were open so they could come down to pray.”

Klaves related the 9-11 service to those that followed the bombing of Pearl Harbor, in that services held to remember a specific event in time usually fade as time passes.

The overall theme of his message was when one ponders the attributes of God because of a natural disaster or time of violence, one should ask, ‘Who are your heroes?’

“Some only remember or dwell on terrible things and bad people, while others are too busy to think about it,” he said. “Those people have a different conception of God.”

Reading from an anonymous essay, Klaves concluded that everyone has a choice.

He told about the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, who are paid a salary so they aren’t tempted to cram patients into their schedules like doctors who are paid based on the number of patients they see. They make that choice, Klaves said.

“Who are your heroes?”

He told about the D.C. Air National Guard fighter pilots who were the first two responders to go after United Flight 93 on 9-11. Col. Marc Sasseville and Lt. Heather Penney, each in an F-16, were armed with guns but no missiles because they had to get airborne quickly. They knew they had to take down that airliner, he said.

In a quote to MSNBC, Penney said, “As we were putting on our flight gear … Sass looked at me and said, ‘I’ll ram the cockpit.’ And I had made the decision that I would take the tail off the aircraft.” They made a choice.

“Who are your heroes?”

Ultimately the passengers aboard Flight 93, led by Todd Beamer, made the sacrifice and the F-16 pilots did not have to, Klaves said. They made a choice.

“Who are your heroes?”

He told about Pat Tillman, a football super star who turned down million-dollar contracts to become a U.S. Army Ranger and go to Afghanistan after 9-11. That choice cost Tillman his life, but he did it to give back for the blessings he had been given, Klaves said.

“Who are your heroes?”

Finally, Klaves talked about Laura “Flag Mama” Froehlich, who personally greeted, hugged and said good bye to deploying and redeploying service members at March Field day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year. She made a choice.

“A hero is one who serves out of sacrifice. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things when they are called upon and who do those things sacrificially, Klaves said. “Who are your heroes?”




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