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New Mexico State University

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Army and Air Force ROTC honor 9/11 and military members serving worldwide

More than 150 New Mexico State University Army and Air Force ROTC cadets and visitors came together on the Friday before Sept. 11 to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragic events on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.



Army and Air Force ROTC cadets at New Mexico State University stand at ease during the 9/11-tribute ceremony (NMSU photo by Tonya Suther).

The tribute began with a pre-dawn run and culminated with a memorial ceremony on the parade grounds at the Horseshoe, which included cannon blasts to coincide with the times the planes crashed at 6:47, 7:03, 7:37 and 8:03 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

"The anniversary of Sept. 11 is a day for us to remember not only those that were killed in the attack, but also the friends and neighbors who continue to feel that loss," said Lt. Col. Dan Bennett, AFROTC.

ROTC cadets left Young Hall in cadence for the two-mile run escorted by NMSU police. They ran in formation up to the Pan American Center and returned down International Mall where they assembled on the parade grounds in front of Hadley Hall.

Cadets then had a brief flag-raising ceremony and taps was played.

Lt. Col. Andrew Taylor ran in the army combat uniform and full battle rattle, to include army combat helmet, body armor with ceramic plates, load-bearing equipment, a Camelback and weapons to remember and honor the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks while serving in Iraq.

"For us it's deeply personal," said Lt. Col. Andrew Taylor, Army ROTC. "That is why we do what we do. To each and everyone of you, I salute your service."

Bennett spoke of loss and introduced guest speaker Col. Dan Wright, commander of the Space Operations Group, Aerospace Data Facility - Southwest, who spoke about future challenges.