A roar of thunder and a thousand silent thoughts

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Joseph Mulcahy
  • Career Assistance Advisor
Team Kirtland rarely ceases to impress me. Last weekend, I had the privilege of carrying Alaska's flag as part of a parade of state flags at the New Mexico Veterans' Memorial. I was joined by dedicated Airmen representing not only their states but every unit on Kirtland. Each volunteer braved the early morning frost and gave up a small part of their day off to pay respect to veterans of every American war. We also honored the families of our fallen comrades who lost their lives this past year fighting the Global War on Terror.

Col. Robert E. Suminsby Jr., 377th Air Base Wing commander, delivered a powerful speech about past and present warriors. Toward the end of his speech, he took time to recognize and honor several Kirtland Airmen who had recently returned from war. New Mexico Representative Heather Wilson also paid tribute to our veterans and commented on how New Mexicans have played a key role in defending our nation. Throughout the event, master of ceremonies Lt. Col. David Mobley, 550th Special Operations Squadron, kept things moving with precision guided words and commands. About midway through the ceremony, two New Mexico Air National Guard F-16s roared overheard. Their glorious sound of freedom stirred the crowd.

The ceremony's highlight occurred when retired Army Lt. Col. Larry Blair honored the families of those fallen. His "Fallen Warrior" tribute recalled the common events in the life of every Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine killed in action. This moving speech evoked standing ovations, many tears and the unified support of the hundreds in attendance.

As I surveyed the crowd, I was impressed by its diversity and size. I was especially proud of the folks that volunteered to make this event a success. Team Kirtland was well represented by flag bearers, honor guard members, speakers and spectators. Additionally, the crowd was filled with warriors past, present and future. It was remarkable to see World War II veterans standing side by side with ROTC members.

To all those who volunteered or attended, I salute you. Your efforts made a positive impact on the families of the fallen and the community. Your commitment and patriotism serve as reminder to all that we understand and will never forget that this nation is worth dying for.

See you in the wings!