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Airmen commemorate Patriot Day with ceremony

The 121st Air Refueling Wing held a ceremony in honor of Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2015. On Patriot Day, the American flag is flown at half-staff on all U.S. government buildings and establishments throughout the world and a moment of silence is observed beginning at 8:46 am, the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Wendy Kuhn/Released)

The 121st Air Refueling Wing held a ceremony in honor of Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2015. On Patriot Day, the American flag is flown at half-staff on all U.S. government buildings and establishments throughout the world and a moment of silence is observed beginning at 8:46 am, the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Wendy Kuhn/Released)

Retired Maj. Gen. Clay Buckingham speaks during a ceremony in honor of Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2015. On Patriot Day, the American flag is flown at half-staff on all U.S. government buildings and establishments throughout the world and a moment of silence is observed beginning at 8:46 am, the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Wendy Kuhn/Released)

Retired Maj. Gen. Clay Buckingham speaks during a ceremony in honor of Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2015. On Patriot Day, the American flag is flown at half-staff on all U.S. government buildings and establishments throughout the world and a moment of silence is observed beginning at 8:46 am, the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Wendy Kuhn/Released)

Retired Maj. Gen. Clay Buckingham speaks during a ceremony in honor of Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2015. On Patriot Day, the American flag is flown at half-staff on all U.S. government buildings and establishments throughout the world and a moment of silence is observed beginning at 8:46 am, the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Wendy Kuhn/Released)

Retired Maj. Gen. Clay Buckingham speaks during a ceremony in honor of Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2015. On Patriot Day, the American flag is flown at half-staff on all U.S. government buildings and establishments throughout the world and a moment of silence is observed beginning at 8:46 am, the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Wendy Kuhn/Released)

RICKENBACKER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ohio -- The 121st Air Refueling Wing held a ceremony in honor of Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance, Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2015.

On Patriot Day, the American flag is flown at half-staff on all U.S. government buildings and establishments throughout the world and a moment of silence is observed beginning at 8:46 am, the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.  Patriot Day occurs annually and honors the 2,977 people killed on that day.

"This is a celebration of folks who embody the three values of 'Duty, Honor, Country,'" and that's worth celebrating," said Col. Mark Auer, wing commander.

Highlights of the ceremony included a breakfast hosted by the 121 ARW Chiefs' Council, a reading of the Presidential Proclamation: Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, 2015; a Remembrance of the Fallen ceremony; and remarks by keynote speaker, retired Maj. Gen. Clay Buckingham.

"This was an act of terror, an act of murder and a brutal act of hatred," said Maj. Gen. Buckingham. "It is a reminder that we live in a dangerous world and only the strong and the vigilant can remain free."

Maj. Gen. Buckingham is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Army War College, as well as a Korean War Veteran and a Vietnam War Veteran.

Maj. Gen. Buckingham's remarks highlighted some of the events surrounding the United States' involvement in wars beginning with World War I through the more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"You are part of the military profession, the only part of the American society dedicated to the defense of this nation," said Maj. Gen. Buckingham. "You are some of the patriots. What you do counts - it makes a difference."