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17th TRW remembers 9/11 on 20th anniversary

Joint Service Color Guard members fold the U.S. flag at the Retreat Ceremony outside of the Norma Brown building on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 10, 2021. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

Joint Service Color Guard members fold the U.S. flag at the Retreat Ceremony outside of the Norma Brown building on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 10, 2021. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Reilman, 17th Training Wing commander, speaks his opening remarks at the 20th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony, at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. Reilman reminded atendees the importance of remembering our fallen brothers and sisters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Reilman, 17th Training Wing commander, speaks his opening remarks at the 20th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony, at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. Reilman reminded atendees the importance of remembering our fallen brothers and sisters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Allan, Center for Information Warfare Training Detachment Goodfellow instructor, and detachment representatives, pay their tributes during the Retreat Ceremony outside of the Norma Brown building on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 10, 2021. The 17th Training Wing along with representatives from the joint services remembered the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Allan, Center for Information Warfare Training Detachment Goodfellow instructor, and detachment representatives, pay their tributes during the Retreat Ceremony outside of the Norma Brown building on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 10, 2021. The 17th Training Wing along with representatives from the joint services remembered the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

Joint Service Color Guard members lower the U.S. flag during the Retreat Ceremony outside of the Norma Brown building on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 10, 2021 The event paid tribute to commemorate the 20th anniversary of those lost during the attacks on 9/11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

Joint Service Color Guard members lower the U.S. flag during the Retreat Ceremony outside of the Norma Brown building on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 10, 2021 The event paid tribute to commemorate the 20th anniversary of those lost during the attacks on 9/11. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

Lance Sauceda, City of San Angelo firefighter and paramedic, conducts the fireman’s bell ringing at a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. The bell was rung five times, which symbolized that a fallen firefighter’s duties are over and charges living firefighters to take on the duty of protecting those left behind. (U.S. Air Force by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

Lance Sauceda, City of San Angelo firefighter and paramedic, conducts the fireman’s bell ringing at a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. The bell was rung five times, which symbolized that a fallen firefighter’s duties are over and charges living firefighters to take on the duty of protecting those left behind. (U.S. Air Force by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

Lance Sauceda, City of San Angelo firefighter and paramedic, rings the fireman’s bell five times in honor of every firefighter that has fallen in the line of at a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. The 312th Training Squadron holds a memorial every year to recognize the firefighters, and adds new names to the memorial as needed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

Lance Sauceda, City of San Angelo firefighter and paramedic, rings the fireman’s bell five times in honor of every firefighter that has fallen in the line of at a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. The 312th Training Squadron holds a memorial every year to recognize the firefighters, and adds new names to the memorial as needed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

U.S. Air Force members assigned to the 17th Training Wing display wreaths to honor the firefighters who fell in the line of duty, during a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. The ceremony included a moment of silence, a wreath laying and words spoken in remembrance of the fallen firefighters. (U.S. Air Force by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

U.S. Air Force members assigned to the 17th Training Wing display wreaths to honor the firefighters who fell in the line of duty, during a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. The ceremony included a moment of silence, a wreath laying and words spoken in remembrance of the fallen firefighters. (U.S. Air Force by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

Retired Fire Capt. Mike Dugan, New York City Fire Department, speaks at the 20th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony, at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. Dugan shared his personal experiences regarding his response efforts to rescue victims in the World Trade Center after the attack. (U.S. Air Force by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

Retired Fire Capt. Mike Dugan, New York City Fire Department, speaks at the 20th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony, at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. Dugan shared his personal experiences regarding his response efforts to rescue victims in the World Trade Center after the attack. (U.S. Air Force by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

U.S. Air Force members assigned to the 17th Training Wing carry memorial wreaths during a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. The red wreath represented the fire service and the bloodshed in the fight to save our own, the blue wreath represented the vastness it took to manage the events of 9/11, and the white wreath represented emergency medical community and all other partners and the purity of their efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

U.S. Air Force members assigned to the 17th Training Wing carry memorial wreaths during a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2021. The red wreath represented the fire service and the bloodshed in the fight to save our own, the blue wreath represented the vastness it took to manage the events of 9/11, and the white wreath represented emergency medical community and all other partners and the purity of their efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abbey Rieves)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Twenty years ago, smoke billowed and ash blackened the sky. Screams echoed through the air but ultimately fell silent. Sirens rang repeatedly, lights flashed, and indistinguishable noise erased the silence as bystanders tried to make sense of the chaos.

He drove his car as close as he could to the World Trade Center, grabbed his firefighting gear, and left a note in his locker.

Tell them I’m sorry, but I have to do what I have to do, it read. He went into the building.

On the 20th anniversary week of September 11, 2001, the 17th Training Wing held several events to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  

First, the 312th Training Squadron hosted a 20th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony, on the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, Sept. 8. The event focused on remembering 9/11 and honoring those who lost their lives during the disaster.

At the event, Retired Fire Capt. Mike Dugan, New York City Fire Department, shared his personal experiences and his response to the attack and offered heartfelt words of encouragement.  

“You are now starting a career in the fire service. A lot of my friends started as military fire fighters, and some of them came through the training here,” said Dugan. “They became leaders because of their dedication to duty, pride in their fire departments, and the courage-- both professionally and personally-- that they learned from here.”

Next, the Wing paid tribute to the lives lost with a Retreat Ceremony outside of the Norma Brown building on Sept. 10. "Retreat" signals the end of the duty day by honoring the U.S. flag as it is being lowered down the flagpole.

Demonstrating a one-team, one-fight reality, joint service members assigned to Goodfellow participated in the retreat ceremony.

“I think it’s awesome to have all of the detachments in one event and it’s a great experience to be here,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Allan, Center for Information Warfare Training Detachment Goodfellow instructor. “It’s a great honor to participate in this ceremony. I remember the attacks like it was yesterday, so vividly in my mind. We’re here to take a little time out of our day and remember all who were lost.” 

Finally, the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy will host its 9th annual Blood, Sweat, and Stairs competition, at the High Bay, Sept. 11.

The competition’s 2-mile course is a firefighter-oriented training activity that will simulate the obstacles and challenges first responders encountered during the rescue efforts after the attacks on 9/11.  Competitors will race up a 90-foot tower, drag a 200-foot fire hose, and haul a 185-pound dummy throughout the course. 

“The significance of the event is to pay our respects to the emergency responders who gave their life on 9/11, through physical events that emulate any given tasks a first responder may have to do,” said Staff Sgt. Tyler Moorehead, 312th Training Squadron instructor. “It’s important we continue to host this event to never forget the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”