By Karen Carr Keefe
Senior Contributing Writer
Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post 9249 will hold a 9/11 ceremony at 7 p.m. Monday at the post, 2121 Grand Island Blvd. The ceremony is open to the public.
“We are going to have an honor guard and a rifle brigade,” new post Commander Dale Berger said. The keynote speaker will be Grand Island Deputy Supervisor Pete Marston.
Berger, who took over as post commander June 30, will also speak at the brief ceremony.
He said, this year, there may not be as big a turnout as the post has for some other events. “We would like to see as many people as we can.”
The observance will be held outdoors, weather permitting. The Buffalo Bills play the New York Jets at 8 p.m., and the post will be open during the game, Berger said.
He said patriotism is more than anything what the 9/11 observance is all about.
“If you look at the past and you look at things that Hitler did and some of the other things that have happened, we tend to lose track of them. I think that the majority of the country – the citizens – do not want to lose track of 9/11.”
Nearly 3,000 people were killed on Sept 11, 2001, when terrorists crashed airplanes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and American Airlines Flight 77 crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania after a passenger revolt against the terrorists who had hijacked the plane.
The United States and the world were shocked, and the global war on terror was launched.
“Twenty-two years ago, I wanted to rejoin,” Berger said, as an indication of the strength of his reaction in wanting to help the country. “We all were really mad. But it’s something that I think, in my own mind, that needs to be remembered. And I think the kids need to remember it.
“But the main thing, to me, is that we need to make sure that everybody remembers this because we don’t want another occurrence.”
Berger served from 1971-75 in the U.S. Navy on a nuclear fast-attack submarine.
“I was all over the globe, including Russia,” he said.
As new post commander, Berger said he has some important initiatives to accomplish for the VFW.
“The biggest change we need to make at the post is we need members. … When I got out of the service in ’75, there were a lot of members, and the place was busy all the time,” Berger said.
He noted a lot of the members from those years have passed away, and he is now one of the younger members.
“So, we need younger recruits in there. And that’s what I envision is that we will go after – and I would ask that anybody who served, even who didn’t serve and have a direct correlation to somebody who did serve, please come join the Auxiliary,” Berger said.