Utah Special Forces Soldiers

Remember 9/11 in Iraq


By SSG John Etheridge

19th Special Forces Group


Published October 28, 2010


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Members of the Utah National Guard's 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) render honors to the flag in commemoration of 9/11.

Photo by SSG John Etheridge

Members of the Utah National Guard's 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) render honors to the flag in commemoration of 9/11.

CAMP SYVERSON, Iraq — While the nation paused to remember our fallen countrymen today, a group of 15 Soldiers from the Utah National Guard’s 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) voluntarily spent Patriot Day raising and lowering American flags to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The group of Soldiers spent two and a half hours in 107-degree heat in front of the Camp Syverson command center until they had finished raising and lowering 40 American flags.

The Soldiers treated each flag with proper military etiquette and respect. Each one was raised and then lowered to half-staff—a gesture to the fallen—before they were carefully brought down and folded.

"Today’s flag ceremonies are symbolic," said MSG Paul Fallon, with the 19th. "We flew the flags in the face of the enemy on a day that is reserved for the honoring of patriots, and we flew the flags to honor them."

"The flags we raised will act as a token of this day that we can present to others as a sign of our gratitude for their support," said SSG Robert Mount, an operations NCO with the 19th. "They are sign of remembrance and reverence to what happened on 9/11 nine years ago."

Flying the flags on the anniversary of 9/11 at an American combat outpost gives the flags special meaning for the Soldiers on the detail, most of whom plan to keep the flags as a memento of their deployment to Iraq, said Mount.

Although all the flags raised today will have special meaning, one flag in particular has extra-special meaning for one Soldier. Master Sergeant Paul Fallon raised the flag he received last spring in honor of his pending retirement from the Army.

"I decided to put that date on hold so I could be here," said Fallon. "We flew my flag in conjunction with the same time that the plane flew into the Pentagon on 9/11. Now that flag will have special significance for me because nine years from the minute that the plane hit the Pentagon, I was actually deployed to a combat zone in support of Operation New Dawn, in the Global War on Terrorism."

Each flag flown will be accompanied by a certificate stating that the flag was flown at Camp Syverson, Iraq, on September 11, 2010, during Operation New Dawn.