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Sept. 11 Remembrance: A moment of silence at Chapel One

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- During Vandenberg's Sept. 11 Remembrance Day event inside Chapel One, Retired Maj. Brian "Rocketman" Smith recalls his experience at the Pentagon during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Vandenberg's Remembrance Day event honored fallen Americans and remembered how the national course of history was changed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Bryan Boyette)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- During Vandenberg's Sept. 11 Remembrance Day event inside Chapel One, Retired Maj. Brian "Rocketman" Smith recalls his experience at the Pentagon during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Vandenberg's Remembrance Day event honored fallen Americans and remembered how the national course of history was changed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Bryan Boyette)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- US representative Lois Capps comments during the Sept. 11 Remembrance Day event inside Chapel One. Vandenberg's Remembrance Day event was to honor fallen Americans and to remember how the national course of history was changed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Bryan Boyette)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- US representative Lois Capps comments during the Sept. 11 Remembrance Day event inside Chapel One. Vandenberg's Remembrance Day event was to honor fallen Americans and to remember how the national course of history was changed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Bryan Boyette)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Guests in attendance of the Sept. 11 Remembrance event view a slideshow at Chapel One of images the Sept. 11 attacks.  Vandenberg's Remembrance Day event was to honor fallen Americans and to remember how the national course of history was changed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Bryan Boyette)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Guests in attendance of the Sept. 11 Remembrance event view a slideshow at Chapel One of images the Sept. 11 attacks. Vandenberg's Remembrance Day event was to honor fallen Americans and to remember how the national course of history was changed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Bryan Boyette)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Nearly 100 people sat quietly in Vandenberg's Chapel One as the 30th Space Wing hosted a Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony today.

It was a somber scene as various speakers stood at the podium expressing their feelings of how the events of Sept. 11 changed their lives and the lives of an entire nation. A 10-minute memorial video scrolled through dramatic photos of the various tragedies that occurred that fateful day. This video had an emotional impact on the audience as many people wiped their eyes amongst the silent background of the chapel.

One speaker, retired Maj. Brian Smith, gave his first-hand account of the events that happened to him on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 77 plunged into the outer ring of the Pentagon.

"We joined up with a crowd in the large hallways, calmly egressing, and it was then that word got around a second plane had hit the second tower," Major Smith said. "That's when we realized the nation was under attack, and or more immediate nature, we were under attack." 

When asked what part of that day he remembered most, Major Smith said, "Once we got out into the parking lot, all of us together, evacuating the building, the airplane's smoke rising above us outside."

US Representative Lois Capps from California's District 23 was also on hand to impress upon the audience her appreciation for the sacrifices the military and their families have made every day since the events of Sept. 11.

"No one on the Central Coast knows the impact of 9/11 more than the people stationed at this base," she said. "More than 300 Airmen are deployed from this base right now and that is a testament to the dedication of servicemembers around the world to maintain the freedoms we hold so dear."

While Major Smith believes that nobody has forgotten about Sept. 11, he said events like the remembrance ceremony are a good way to be reminded of the way it was before and what it takes to not let an event like this happen again.

"It's easy to get complacent as time goes by," he said. "We need to remain vigilant to ensure this type of event doesn't repeat itself.

"While remembrance events are great, most people have their own memory about where they were on 9/11, and it is that image that helps them remember," he added.