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VAFB remembers 9-11, continues GWOT support

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of the Vandenberg community came together to remember a tragic day in American history at Chapel One here Monday. 

Chapel One held a Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony in which those Vandenberg community members in attendance were given a somber reminder of exactly why the United States is involved in the Global War on Terror. 

"Today we remember why we are fighting and who we are fighting for," said Chaplain (Maj.) Michael Grubbs, 30th Space Wing Chaplain. 

"We remember that we are guardians of the freedoms we must pass on to the next generation," he said. 

Many people attending the Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony may have an idea of what they are about to see. 

Many in attendance seemed to be prepared to sit and listen to some stories and be on their way. However, once the crowd was shown a presentation of scenes from that fateful day, many of those who seemed untouched earlier had tears welling in their eyes.
"I find that a ceremony such as this helps to ease the pain by giving us an opportunity to remember the events of Sept. 11 together in the company of our brothers and sisters in arms, our Vandenberg family and our community leaders," said Col. Jack Weinstein, 30th SW commander. 

Colonel Weinstein was able to use the ceremony to tell his unique story of what happened to him on that day five years ago. 

"I know we all have stories of where we were on 9-11, and before today I really only shared my story with close friends and family," he said. "On this morning, I consider all of you my family." 

Colonel Weinstein was stationed at Offutt AFB, Neb., working as a senior controller for Strategic Command's command center. On Sept. 11, 2001, he saw something most of the rest of the world was trying to figure out. 

Upon his arrival to the command center, he saw a site that not many were privy to. President George W. Bush was there in the command center figuring out the country's next move. 

"What I saw that day was a focused, determined commander-in-chief leading a nation through a crisis," Colonel Weinstein said. 

It was a lesson in leadership and crystal clear direction that I will never forget."
The ceremony then turned toward the future. It was pointed out that 42 percent of the enlisted force entered service after Sept. 11. 

"From the war to end all wars, to World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and now the Global War on Terror, every generation defending freedom is our nation's greatest generation," said Colonel Weinstein. "Today's Airmen, the Airmen serving right now, can be called our greatest generation." 

America's next generation was also on hand. The Child Development Center Choir came to sing "America the Beautiful" for those in attendance. 

A look into the past and the future, Monday's ceremony was an opportunity for the generation of today's Airmen to honor not only those who fell five years ago in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in the fields of Pennsylvania, but those who continue to serve at home and in the deserts of the Middle East.