National Guard troops remember 9/11 aftermath

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LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – 2,977 American flags are displayed at the National Guard Headquarters in Latham to represent the innocent lives that were lost on September 11th, 2001. Some National Guard members shared their experiences when they traveled to New York City on 9/11.

“It altered my life…it altered my career directory,” says Major Stephen Kitchen, New York National Guard. Major Kitchen describes his unforgettable experience when he was sent to Manhattan the morning after the terrorist attacks.

“I remember seeing what was the contents of the filing cabinets of several stories of those two office buildings all over the street…there was a Chinese take out menu from 1978 I remember seeing that,” says Major Kitchen.

Major Kitchen remembers every single detail from that day, he carries those experiences during all the journeys on the job, even 20 years later. “It’s just something in our history that altered the course of the country.”

By the end of September 11th 2001, 4,265 members from the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs were on active duty to respond to the attacks. “Our soldiers and airman ran to the sound of the guns ready to enable to respond as needed,” says Col. Richard Goldenberg, Public Affairs Officer for New York National Guard.

Some National Guard members say they share what their lives were like before 9/11, because it’s a life the younger generations have never experienced. “We are thankful for this new generation of citizen soldiers and airman — many have not been born yet but they are picking up the torch of service,” says Col. Richard Goldenberg.

Since then, the job as a National Guard member has altered, more increased security and more deployment overseas, but what will never change is the National Guard motto, ‘Always ready, always there.’

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