Gen. Gould to fans: thank you!

Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, pictured here next to a DA-40 training aircraft, is the Air Force Academy superintendent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, pictured here next to a DA-40 training aircraft, is the Air Force Academy superintendent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Thank you Air Force Fans!

A near sell-out crowd of 47,000 fans packed Falcon Stadium last Saturday helping the 2010 Football Falcons execute an exciting and convincing win over BYU!

This wasn't just another beautiful Colorado Saturday. This was a very special remembrance of 9/11. During the game, guests saw a six-foot, 300-pound twisted I-beam from the World Trade Center, a poignant reminder of the violence that occurred on that fateful day nine years ago. Honorary game captains included two heroes, NYPD detective Steve Hayden and FDNY firefighter Ken Haskill, both of whom were 9/11 first-responders, with Ken losing two brothers in the attack. We also honored Army Capt. Mark Wise, a 2007 Air Force Academy grad, who was seriously injured in an attack in Afghanistan last year, and throughout the game, we honored many other faithful military members and public servants too numerous to mention.

Spirited and animated fan support certainly helps us win football games and other competitions, and for that, we're grateful. But on top of that, I want you to know that your support means so much more to the overall development of America's future Air Force leaders. We at the Air Force Academy are as excited as we've ever been to be one of the best academic and leadership institutions in the country and you, the members of the communities around us, play a large role in that success. Whether you're an ardent Falcon fan who attends all our athletic events, a sponsor family who provides a home-away-from-home for cadets, or you simply pat a cadet or Airman on the back and say, "Thank you for your service, keep up the hard work," your encouragement goes miles in rallying cadets, faculty and staff members to achieve more.

Cadets at the Academy go through a rigorous four-year challenge that tests their mental, physical and personal resolve. Your consistent support and dedication is critical in helping us develop the next generation of leaders for the Air Force and our nation.

On behalf of everyone at the Academy, I sincerely thank you for making 9/11 a special day to remember and for your continued support of YOUR U.S. Air Force Academy! We look forward to seeing you around the campus!