On the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Americans can remember the vulnerable feeling caused by what happened on that horrible day. There is some solace to be found in north Alabama by the fact that men and women across the region work every day to defend America.
For instance, in one small area of Redstone Arsenal, there's an office of the Army Materiel Command that produces PS Magazine; the Preventive Maintenance Monthly. The graphic magazine, which helps soldiers repair their equipment, has been published since 1951.
This year it added a digital version, and all versions begin their lives at Redstone. "We work with a cartoon and it's fun, but what that does for our soldiers in terms of keeping their equipment running... in terms of keeping them safe while they operate their equipment... that is just an, it's an honor to be able to serve our soldiers," said Jon Pierce of PS Magazine.
There are many ways things are done on Redstone Arsenal for soldiers. One of the most important is the testing of the Shadow Unmanned Aircraft System. The Shadow provides crucial reconnaissance for soldiers, and making sure it works as advertised is more than just a job.
"We get to wring it out, and I'm afforded the honor of those first flights on what I want to say, marvelous new ideas that get the job done -- that help the commanders save soldiers' lives," says Bic Green, the Shadow's External Test Pilot.
In another place in Madison County, the campus of UAH, students work at the Rotorcraft Center. They're busy with multiple projects that benefit Army aviation. When soldiers use helicopters, they could very well be using something developed by college students in Huntsville.
"Basically I take the parts from conceptualization all the way to making the hardware and implementing the software," said student Jeremy Stubbs. "For an engineer, that's basically the dream job; is to make an impact," he added.
It's hard to quantify the impact of the Ground Based Mid Course Defense. The GMD interceptor's job is to protect America from an incoming ballistic missile. Boeing Huntsville is the prime contractor and constantly works to make sure GMD is ready to go.
"We have successfully tested this thing on the ground, in a flight environment. It works. It will defend this country," said Boeing's Norm Tew.
All over north Alabama, men and women work every day to defend the nation. From keeping the edge in technology, to making sure soldiers have everything they need to do their job, this area stays busy. It is important to remember that.