SSG John Etheridge
Members of the Utah
National Guard's 19th Special Forces Group
(Airborne) render honors to the flag in
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
"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.