CAMP RIPPER, AL ASAD, Iraq -- “We lost 343 firefighters during the attacks of September 11, 2001 and that’s a big part of why a lot of us are here,” explained Capt. Wayne Morrow, the Al Asad Fire Department station captain. Marines and sailors of Regimental Combat Team-2 and firefighters with the base fire department gathered for a memorial photograph to show that even though they are deployed to Iraq, they have not forgotten. A flag dedicated to the memory of the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City was flown in front of the RCT-2 combat operations center (COC), where the photograph was taken. The photograph was taken and the flag was flown to remind the Marines and sailors of RCT-2 about a significant event in American history, and why they are currently deployed to Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sergeant Maj. Thomas G. Reinig, the RCT-2 sergeant major, organized the tribute and summed it up in a speech to his troops. “This photo took 15 minutes of our time,” he said. “It took a lifetime from those who both died and those who are still alive,” he continued, “and ended with a promise to Americans. So from my heart to all Americans I say keep the faith with whatever God you worship, with your country and with each other. We will make you proud of us.” “It was an honor and we are proud to be here with the Marines supporting them in this fight against terrorism. It was important for us to do this to remember all the firefighters and Americans we lost that day,” Morrow explained. The memorial 9/11 flag was presented to the Marines of RCT-2 by the 9/11 Flags Program, organized to send flags that have been flown at the World Trade Center attack site, to military units fighting the war on terrorism. The New York/ New Jersey Port Authority Police Department usually deliver the flags in person to the troops at the receiving unit’s location, which was impossible to do this time due to ongoing combat operations. According to the 9/11 Flags web site, www.911flags.org, the PAPD officers, usually former active duty military veterans, consider it a great honor to deliver these symbols of American freedom and resolve. They have motivated and inspired the military personnel, reminding the men and women why they are fighting this war and to help keep them focused on the mission at hand. Marines of RCT-2 will keep a set of memorial flags when they return to the U.S. after their deployment here in the Al Anbar Province. Colonel Stephen W. Davis, RCT-2 commanding officer, said the importance of the 9/11 flag and the photograph was for the Marines to remember. “To be reminded of what we are doing and why we are doing it out here is important,” said Davis. “It’s always great when you can get a bunch of Americans together who have the same goal and are going in one direction,” Davis explained.