Patriot Day ceremony remembers Sept. 11

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Gordon Beecroft
  • 111th Maintenance Squadron
The phrase "we will never forget" rang true on September 11th, 2008 when the 111th Fighter Wing recruiters coordinated the Patriot Day ceremony commemorating the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. 

Servicemen and women from the 111th Fighter Wing, Pa. Army National Guard, as well as active duty Navy and Marine Corp members unfurled a 120-by-250 foot American Flag across the outfield of Citizens Bank Park in a ceremony before the game. While the center field size flag was being opened, volunteer firefighters from Philadelphia, Delaware County and Warminster fire companies marched around the bases each carrying a state flag.

As Old Glory, beautifully displayed for all to see flew in the wind and the fifty state flags were proudly raised, spectators rose to their feet and removed their caps as the National Anthem was sung by The Sounds of Liberty, North Pennsman and West Branch Choruses.

"We represent Philadelphia's Hometown Air Force," said Master Sgt. Matt Giacobbe, 111th FW Recruiting Supervisor. "This ceremony commemorates the tragic events of September 11th, and honors those who have served our country in the armed forces."

Recruiters Master Sgt. Jack Hill and Master Sgt. Thomas Addis manned the 111th FW recruiting booth at the Third Base Gate. A scaled down model of an F-22 was on display to attract the crowds and provide a background for the occasional photo-op. The recruiters handed out informative brochures and spoke with hundreds of spectators.

"This type of ceremony really hits close to home for people," commented Sergeant Hill. "It's a great opportunity to share the 111th Fighter Wing's story."

111th FW recruiters act as liaisons between new members and existing guardsmen.

Giacobbe said the squadron commanders and existing members are the real recruiters. It is those who are already a part of the ANG family who show potential members what we have to offer and who we are.
"We want the 111th Fighter Wing to be our member's second family, and retention starts the second they sit in our chair," added Giacobbe.

The 111th FW Recruiting office has coordinated events with the Philadelphia sports teams since 2001.