WESFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield held their annual F-100 Memorial re-dedication Sunday.
F-15 fighter jets roared as they performed a flyover in formation at Sunday’s time-honored ceremony. Wing Commander Col. James Suhr offered remarks as official dignitaries watched the ceremony, alongside the families of pilots who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice.
There are 13 names on this memorial, representing 13 fallen airmen – most recently Col. Morris Fontenot, whose wife Kara attended Sunday’s touching tribute.
The ceremony included the playing of the national anthem, and TAPS, a 21 gun salute, and the F-15 flyover.
Patricia Coon, a relative of fallen hero Capt. Leonard Bannish, told 22News about the sacrifice of the men and women in uniform. “It’s a real honor to be a part of somebody’s life who was so courageous. All of these people would give their lives for any of us. It’s a big risk any time they go out, especially when I hear them flying overhead at night.”
104th Fighter Wing Commander Col. James Suhr said, “All of us who are professional military aviators have all lost friends at one time in our careers. It’s something we work very, very hard for, that we don’t add another name to that wall.”
A wreath was laid at the foot of the memorial as each fallen hero’s name was read aloud. It’s a practice that will be repeated once again, this time next year.