VFW Post 8577, Copperas Cove church hold 9/11 remembrance ceremonies
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives due to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, either immediately or in the rescue efforts that followed.
On Saturday, September 11, 2021, the Copperas Cove VFW Post #8577 held a remembrance ceremony starting at 8:03 a.m. CST in their front parking lot, to remember whose who were lost during and after the attacks.
Post Commander Ron Abrahamson gave a brief speech about the importance of remembering the events that happened 20 years ago.
“As Americans awoke and began their day, none could have suspected the unspeakable events of September 11, 2001 that instantly transformed our nation and forever changed the world,” Abrahamson said. “As cowardly terrorists hijacked aircrafts and slammed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and into the ground in a rural Pennsylvania field, an innocence or naivety we once held as a nation was lost forever. The certainty of events was there for all of us to see as thousands of men, women and children were killed and wounded during the attacks on America. The motives and truth behind the deeds of the terrorists made it clear that America and freedom-loving people everywhere have enemies, those enemies aren’t guided by religious belief, but by bigotry and intolerance. They fear the very thing we draw inspiration from - freedom. It has grown apparent with a passing of the last two decades, tyrants and cowards and bullies of the world misjudged the United States of America. They made a fatal mistake in assessing our strength of purpose in our national resolve the attacks of 9/11 did not weaken us as intended.”
Abrahamson continued to share a message of how resilient Americans became in the face of the devastating attack.
“We may have been frightened by the terrorist attacks on 9/11, but America didn’t surrender or succumb to fear,” Abrahamson said. “Goodness will prevail over the forces of evil, and that freedom will continue to like the path into the future for freedom loving people across the globe. September 11th changed our perspective and the way we see the rest of the world. You brought a new and harsh reality to us all that true evil does exist in the world, and unless we are willing to make a stand against the surge of violence and hatred aimed at our nation, we will be destroyed by it. Unless we stand strong, wickedness will prevail.”
Then on Saturday evening, Immanuel Lutheran Church held a prayer vigil and memorial ceremony outside, with the sun setting over the hills and valleys of Central Texas in the background.
The Immanuel Lutheran Church Choir began the ceremony with the National Anthem and closed the ceremony with “God Bless America”.
Pastor David Reedy led the audience in a reading of a prayer for the country and first responders. He also shared a reading of the history of events from that fateful day 20 years ago - of the times the planes hit the buildings and of how the towers stood for 56 minutes and 102 minutes after the attack but then fell in just 12 seconds.
Reedy also shared about the first responders and civilians that have since died of cancer and under other illness directly related to the carcinogens released at Ground Zero, with over 30,000 people having been treated for injuries and sickness related to the recovery efforts at what was known as The Pile.
He touched on the lives lost to terror attacks in the months and year before 9/11 and the servicemembers who lost their lives or were injured in the two decades since.
Reedy is a retired U.S. Air Force Chaplain. He was deployed overseas in the years following 9/11, to Iraq and Afghanistan, so remembering the people who lost their lives in the attacks and in the War on Terror that began after is very important.
“The 11th is a very potent day,” Reedy said. “I’m a retired military chaplain, and I’ve lost friends in the global war on terror. To be able to have an opportunity like this to be able to gather and remember that with your family, your church family, and to do it and kind of let the community know that we remember as well, it means a lot. I know it means a lot for me when people remember the service that we’ve done, and I know the folks, the families that I still stay in touch with, it means a lot to them to know there are people around the country that haven’t forgotten them 20 years later.”
The 20th anniversary of that unforgettable day is a time to remember the important things of family and country, Reedy added.
“I think now we especially need it,” Reedy said. “The weeks following September 11th, this nation was so united, and somehow we lost that. There were flags everywhere, and people were courteous, and people were courteous in traffic. It was a marked difference. It showed you what we could be but gradually we get back to old habits, and so I think ceremonies like this are an opportunity for us to kind of elevate our ethics a little bit.”