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Standing tall on 9-11

Col. Jeffrey Wiegand, 115th Fighter Wing commander, talks about the events of Sept. 11, 2001 prior to introducing Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor, during a formation in Hangar 406 at the 115 FW in Madison, Wis., Sept. 11, 2014. Walker visited the base to thank the Airmen for serving their country and state. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Col. Jeffrey Wiegand, 115th Fighter Wing commander, talks about the events of Sept. 11, 2001 prior to introducing Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor, during a formation in Hangar 406 at the 115 FW in Madison, Wis., Sept. 11, 2014. Walker visited the base to thank the Airmen for serving their country and state. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor, takes a moment to speak with Master Sgt. Richard Carter, 115th Fighter Wing senior non-commissioned officer of the quarter, following his speech about Sept. 11, 2001, in Hangar 406 at the 115 FW in Madison, Wis., Sept. 11, 2014. Walker visited the base to thank the Airmen for serving their country and state. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor, takes a moment to speak with Master Sgt. Richard Carter, 115th Fighter Wing senior non-commissioned officer of the quarter, following his speech about Sept. 11, 2001, in Hangar 406 at the 115 FW in Madison, Wis., Sept. 11, 2014. Walker visited the base to thank the Airmen for serving their country and state. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor, shows off his new chief coin following a Sept. 11, 2001 remembrance ceremony in Hangar 406 at the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., Sept. 11, 2014. Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Safer, 115 FW command chief, recently designed the new coin and chose Walker as the first recipient. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor, shows off his new chief coin following a Sept. 11, 2001 remembrance ceremony in Hangar 406 at the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., Sept. 11, 2014. Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Safer, 115 FW command chief, recently designed the new coin and chose Walker as the first recipient. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

MADISON, Wis. -- Thirteen years ago today I was sitting in biology class as a sophomore at Wrightstown High School. It was second hour, and Mrs. Feirer was my teacher.

I remember her turning on the TV at the front of the room. There they were. The towers were still standing tall but had already been hit. Smoke was roaring out of them.

Call it ignorance if you will, but at the time I had no real knowledge of the importance of those towers.

I had no clue that those images would be burned into my memory for the rest of my life. I had no clue that one day I'd raise my hand to protect the freedom those terrorists tried to take away from us. I had no clue that every single year, on 9-11, people from around the world would mourn for those who were taken from us so quickly.

I had no clue that today, of all days, I'd be given a chance to see the 115th Fighter Wing Airmen in formation, taking a moment of silence to remember that day's events.
In the military we are one; as Americans we are one.

Governor Walker came to base today to make sure we were thanked for our service to our country and for our service to the state of Wisconsin.

While here, he recollected a moment in his life following the tragic events of 9-11. His family had planned to get together with a few other families to light candles in remembrance of those who lost their lives. So many found out about the plan that they ended up filling the yard with people, and the candles had to be cut into smaller segments so everyone could hold one. He remembers looking into the eyes of those around him and seeing the candles reflecting in them.

Following his recollection, Walker addressed the formation. Those images burned into your head from that tragic day shouldn't remind you about the horrible, terrifying events of that day. Those images burned into your memory should remind you of all the people who stood unified on front lawns across the world. They signify the American spirit that surrounds us.

Take a moment today to remember where you were on Sept. 11, 2001. Look at how far you've come, how strong you've become and how much you've grown as an American since that day.

Despite the tragedies in our history -- we stand tall, one nation under God.
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