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Team Kadena's First Responders Remember 9/11

An Airman standing in front of a police car with the lights on.

“I know Sept. 11 was really huge for America, and that a lot of lives were lost. The first time I remember hearing about it, I was in kindergarten. That is when my parents told me about the attack. It has impacted me a lot, it makes me strive to be better every day because life is short and you never know what could happen at any given time so you have to be ready at all times and stay alert,” said U.S. Air Force Airman Jose Garcia 18th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 31, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)

A civilian firefighter stands in front of a fire truck.

“I was here [Okinawa, Japan] in 2001, I was in middle school. Due to the time difference, it was night time and I was watching TV and then it happened. It was unreal I couldn’t believe what was going on. I always wanted to be a firefighter, to help others, [Sept. 11] helped motivate me to become one.” recounts Brian Arime, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 31, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)

An Airman standing in front of an American Flag.

“I was in the military for roughly 9 months and scheduled to go on my first TDY to Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. I woke up that morning at 0300… and was excited to go on an adventure with 12 other Security Forces members. We checked into our flight and boarded the plane. The plane closed its doors, started to taxi and waited at the end of the runway for clearance to take off. We taxied back to the airport, deplaned and entered a completely silent airport. You could have heard a pin drop and all passengers were glued to the mounted tube TVs. They all showed the same image. It was a skyscraper that was burning and still not knowing what had happened, I was confused and actually a little afraid. Moments later a plane struck the second adjoining tower and disappeared in an explosion and all you could hear was people gasping deeply. What we did not know, was that this day would change not only our life but the lives of many Americans and the way the U.S. military would operate for years to come,” recounted U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Edward Mann IV, 18th Security Forces Squadron NCOIC of Installation Security, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 10, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)

An Airman sitting in the back of an Ambulance.

"In elementary school, we would usually watch remembrances on TV and remember those that had fallen. As time went on in high school, we learned about how it impacted the world and the U.S.,” recalled U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Crose, 18th Medical Healthcare Operations Squadron ambulance services medical technician, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 10, 2021. “Peoples’ lives will be in our hands, so we have to be ready to act and rely on all the skills, knowledge and training we have. It’s our job to do what needs to be done and save as many lives as we can.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)

An Airman standing in front of an ambulance.

“The Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony today allowed me to reflect on my time as an EMT in the military and to appreciate your fellow brothers and sisters in arms, and first responders because you really never know what you’re going to respond to any time the tone is dropped,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ashley Maselli-Dismore, 18th Medical Healthcare Operations Squadron, ambulance services medical technician, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 10, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)

An Airman sitting in his office.

“I was in second grade, 7 years old, it's one of those memories that is burned in. I can picture coming through the door and seeing the librarian’s reaction as this replayed on the news, shortly thereafter watching that first plane strike the tower. I came home and told my dad, I’m joining the military,” recounted U.S. Air Force 1st Lt Daniel Cook, 18th Security Forces Squadron officer in charge of logistics and readiness, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 10, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)

An Airman standing in bunker gear in the bay of a fire station.

“The first thing I remember about Sept. 11 was a story my middle school teacher told me -- turning on the TV while it was going on and then immediately shutting off when the second tower went down,” recounts U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brandon Spaulding, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 31, 2021. “I am a first responder, it means I am a high necessity, I don’t get days off on the weekends, I don’t get federal holidays, I am needed for the mission to go on so I always have to be ready.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- “I know Sept. 11 was really huge for America, and that a lot of lives were lost. The first time I remember hearing about it, I was in kindergarten. That is when my parents told me about the attack. It has impacted me a lot, it makes me strive to be better every day because life is short and you never know what could happen at any given time so you have to be ready at all times and stay alert,” said U.S. Air Force Airman Jose Garcia 18th Security Forces Squadron entry controller, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 31, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)