NC Guard 9/11 Remembrance

Raleigh

Song, prayer, ceremony and occasional tears marked the anniversary of 9/11 at The North Carolina National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, today.

The headquarters began their duty carrying out the orders of their Commander in Chief, Gov. Pat McCrory, lowering the United States and North Carolina Flags in recognition of Patriot Day.

“Thirteen years ago, our nation was attacked and life as we knew it changed forever," McCrory said. "On this anniversary, we unite in remembrance and prayer for our nation, those innocent lives lost and their families who must still cope with this tragedy.”

Soldiers, airmen, friends and staff came together at the Remembrance Ceremony at the HQ’s auditorium. Most of the Soldiers and Airmen are combat veterans. Stories of deployments, battles, friends made and lost make a steady background murmur.

The ceremony began as all, military and civilian, stood at attention for the singing of the National Anthem by Army Sgt. 1st Class Ronda Csolak, a personnel manager with NCNG Headquarters. Heads bowed as Fulltime NCNG Support Chaplain Army Lt. Col Steven King lead the audience in prayer for those killed in the attack and in the wars following.

“The events of 9/11 have forever been inscribed on our memories, we are resolved to do what is good and right and just,” said King.

The keynote speaker Army Maj. Bob May, the NCNG’s 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team training officer. He shared his personal experience from the 9/11 attack when he was serving as a member of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, “The Old Guard”, in Washington D.C.

“I heard a crash and saw billowing smoke, everything changed, it was a terrorist attack,” said May.

May was one of the many who rushed to the Pentagon after the attack helping the wounded. Later as a Memorial Affairs Officer, he helped lead the teams responsible for honoring the fallen in the attack.

“There is no more humbling experience than rendering last honors to a fallen comrade and showing compassion to a grieving family.”

Those funerals would be the first for the many thousands who gave the last full measure of duty and devotion. The NCNG is no stranger to this loss. Army Lt. Col. Brent Orr, the NCNG’s recruiting battalion commander, listed the 25 NCNG soldiers who died in battle since 9/11. The reciting of the men’s and women’s names was broken by the sobs of their comrades.

After a moment of silence for those lost, Csolak returned to the stage to lead all in the singing of God Bless America. The solo soon became a chorus as the voices of those in attendance filled the room.

King concluded the ceremony with a prayer and prediction, “go with the certainty that Good will overcome Evil.”

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Contact: Sgt. Fst. Class Robert Jordon
Phone: (919) 664-6242

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