Sustaining an enduring collaboration in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all operational components of Customs and Border Protection joined the U.S. Coast Guard in remembering Friday the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
With the backdrop of the Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen Community Center, in Ramey, a commemoration event was organized by a joint committee with the purpose of collectively reflect on the meaning of such fateful date.
The symbolism of the occasion was led by a joint CBP and USCG honor guard, engaging in all the official activities that included the show of colors, a flag folding ceremony, and a three volley salute. The folded U.S. flag was presented as a gift from CBP to the event host, Capt. Robert Phillips.
In his welcome remarks, Air Station Borinquen Commander Captain Philips used the famous quote "'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," to highlight how through remembering the tragic events, our missions and collective resolve to protect the nation is always present. "We are a united DHS," he added.
On behalf of CBP, Director of Field Operations Marcelino Borges shared "the security of our borders and country as a whole remains our highest priority, and even as many threats still linger, our nation is stronger than it was on 9/11".
In preparation for the event, an essay contest was held in which employees throughout Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands could share what 9/11 meant for them. The three winning essays were recognized at the event, to wit: Marine Interdiction Agent Isidro Linares, first place; Port Director Felix Cruz-Diaz, second place; and Air Interdiction Agent William G. Sterling, third place.
A poignant e-mail written by a former Border Patrol Agent turned Air Marshall, as he flew over ground zero on the first anniversary of 9/11, was read by Chief Patrol Agent Michael DeBruhl.
The event came to an emotional peak, as Eileen Millan read the recollection of her aunt, a survivor from the World Trade Center.
To close the moving ceremony, air assets from Air Station Borinquen and the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch performed a fly-by all those attending.
Director of Air Operations Johnny Morales thanked those in attendance indicating that "we should never forget what happened that day, which is the reason why we are committed to protect our great nation."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.