OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) — Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan stopped at a military refueling wing and a fire station in his home state Tuesday, staying away from partisan politics on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and instead thanking troops and first-responders for their service.
"This is a day we should be thinking about people who give their lives and today what we are really thankful for are those who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe, for making our military, our air force, the unrivaled best in the world," he told about 80 members of 128th Air Refueling Wing at the Milwaukee airport.
Ryan ended with "Go Packers!" before he started shaking hands.
Chief Master Sgt. John McFadden gave Ryan his "chief's coin," which he said he received when he made rank of chief master sergeant.
"I think he's a great guy. I really like him. I support him," McFadden said.
As Ryan shook hands, members told them their home towns. One man said, "Mukwonago," which is in Ryan's district.
"I work for you," he said.
Another said, "Oak Creek."
"Likewise," Ryan said.
The congressman didn't take questions from reporters at either stop. Negative ads from both campaigns were off the air Tuesday, following precedent for the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Ryan then went to a fire station in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek and had lunch with about two dozen fire department officials. Oak Creek is in his district and it's also where a white supremacist killed a half-dozen people and wounded four at a Sikh temple last month. He made no mention of the shootings.
"This is a day where we as Americans think and remember people who lost their lives," he told the fire officials before serving them lasagna. "We are thankful for those of you who put their lives on the line for us every day. So we are here simply to bring notoriety and a gift of thanks for what you do for us on a daily basis."