Central Solano County recognized a terrible day in our nation’s history Wednesday with a combination of somber reflection and a healthy display of in-your-face military might.
Suisun City served as ground zero for the area’s observance of the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that thrust our nation into a state of undeclared war that’s lasted more than a decade.
The day began with a somber tolling of a bell to mark the times when jetliners crashed into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center; when another hit the Pentagon; when a fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania before it could be flown into a more symbolic target in our nation’s capital; and when each of the twin towers fell.
The day ended with the dedication of the community’s memorial to the terrorist attacks.
That memorial, which includes two sections of steel beams recovered from the World Trade Center’s twin towers, was completed by the city’s firefighters days before the 12th anniversary of the attacks.
It’s fitting that the memorial is in front of the city’s fire station, since more than 400 first responders were among the dead that day. The New York City Fire Department alone lost 340 firefighters.
The terrorist attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon and in a rural Pennsylvania field killed nearly 3,000 people between the hijackers, people on the four hijacked jetliners and those on the ground.
While civilians and first responders bore the brunt of the terrorist attacks, it’s our military that has since carried a greater load.
Hostilities in Iraq led to the deaths of more than 4,400 U.S. service members, with another 32,200 service members injured. More than 3,500 of those who died were killed in action.
Hostilities linked to the war in Afghanistan have claimed the lives of more than 2,200 U.S. service members, with another 19,300 wounded. Nearly 1,800 of those who died were killed in action.
These totals rise with each new death and injury in Afghanistan.
Perhaps the most compelling local display of our nation’s resolve a dozen years after 9/11 came at Travis Air Force Base, where 22 jets were launched in about 40 minutes Wednesday during what base officials called Freedom Launch.
The jets launched in groups: the C-17s, the KC-10s and the C-5s making their way down the runway in rapid succession, taking off and flying off into the distance for various training missions.
If you know anything about Air Force operations, you have an idea just how impressive it is to successfully launch so many jets of different types in such a short period of time.
We are gearing up for our annual Veterans Day special section, which once again will feature local veterans whose service dates back to the World War II era and up to the present day.
It’s something we do in partnership with a great many local businesses. It’s our way of letting the area’s veterans know that we appreciate their service and their sacrifice to preserve and protect the freedoms we all enjoy as U.S. citizens and residents.
If you would like to share your story of military service with the community, please let me know and I’ll have a reporter get in touch with you. The same applies if you know someone who has a compelling story to tell of his or her military service.
When we’re done, you’ll be able to open your paper on Veterans Day and read about some of your neighbors and their service to our country. Then you can come downtown and watch the annual Veterans Day parade as the entire community offers its thanks to our local veterans.
Reach Managing Editor Glen Faison at 427-6925 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GlenFaison.