For the past 12 years, the brave men and women of the United States have continuously deployed to combat zones across the globe in support of the war on terrorism and the defense of freedom.

These costly deployments were a direct result of Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed them into pre-planned targets, killing about 3,000 innocent people.

At the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel, more than 400 soldiers from the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, attended a Memorial Prayer Breakfast hosted by the brigade’s 49th Transportation Battalion on Sept. 11.

The guest speaker for the prayer breakfast, retired U.S. Navy Chaplain Ron Swafford, shared some of his memories from the days following the attacks when he visited ground zero in New York City and met with some family members who lost loved ones.

“Not many people got to go to ground zero and see the magnitude of the devastation,” he said. “When I stood on that platform with those families and looked at the devastation, it was more than just heart wrenching, it was breath-taking and I wanted some of the young people who have seen some of the pictures to hear the passion of someone who was actually there,” Swafford said.

As he described the scenes and talked about the emotional feelings running he experienced at the site of the fallen towers, Swafford recalled a very moving moment.

“I just happened to be there the day that they found those crossed I-Beams that came out of the rubble forming a cross,” he said. “It was quite impressive because all the workers just stopped and gathered around and they realized ... because the care givers in New York are very religious,” Swafford said.

After his speech, Swafford was presented with tokens of appreciation by the commander of the 49th Transportation Battalion, Lt. Col. Charles Blumenfeld.

“Many of us seasoned personnel can remember exactly where we were standing (during the attacks), but I think it is critical for us to relay those timeframes, and those thoughts, and those feelings that we were feeling at that moment in time to the younger soldiers,” he said.

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