NEWS | Sept. 19, 2013

Joint Base San Antonio honors 9/11 victims with commemorative run

By Jose T. Garza Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Public Affairs

More than 800 people participated in the Joint Base San Antonio 9/11 Commemorative Run at the JBSA-Lackland 1.5-mile track Sept. 11.

Rain was sporadic throughout the day, but it did not stop the participants from honoring the 3,000 people who lost their lives at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa.

"We owed it to the victims of 9/11 to be out here and honor them, regardless," said Tech. Sgt. Douglas Greene, an instructor at the Robert D. Gaylor NCO Academy at JBSA-Lackland and the commemorative run's organizer.

The event began with opening words from Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency Command Chief Master Sgt. Arleen Heath and closed with remarks from JBSA and 502nd Air Base Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Bob LaBrutta. Various Airmen read the names of the deceased throughout the nine-hour run.

"Whether it was at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in our Nation's Capital, or the lonely field in Shanksville, Pa., today's event was established as 'our way' to pay tribute to the thousands of men, women and children who lost their lives on that fateful September day in 2001. We are also here to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives so valiantly on the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other lands throughout the world to defend our way of life," LaBrutta said.

"I am so proud of our country for its resiliency and I consider myself extremely privileged to be at this incredible venue as a fellow warrior to memorialize 9-11, the proceeding 12 years of war, and to stand by your side to publically state, 'never again, not on our watch.'"

One Airman ran in honor of her husband, Senior Airman Wesley Channell, 93rd Intelligence Squadron, who has been deployed three months as of Sept. 10.

Senior Airman Olivia Channell, 59th Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab technician, said her husband is expected to return to the United States before Christmas.

"It is killing me," Channell said about her husband's deployment. "I can't wait to see him. I'm counting down the days until he gets here."

A Cincinnati native, Channell remembers being in fifth-grade science class when the attacks occurred. She was worried that her father would not be able to retire from the Air Force after the tragedy. He was set to retire a week later.

"I thought we were going to have to move and he was going to have to deploy and have to fight the bad guys," she said.

Participating in the event also helps Channell "become a better Airman," she said. "At least, I can do something to help show support more than I do already," she said.

Channell's fellow Airmen from the 59th MDTS participated in the event, including her supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Monique Monteiro.

Partaking in the run was personal for Monteiro, who had a family friend in the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001. Montero said her friend left behind three children.

"It's nice that I'm able to do a little something to remember them," she said.