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Brilliant American Legion remembers 9/11

REMEMBERING — Bill Smythe, who served through part of the Korean War and came home to serve as commander of the Brilliant American Legion 573 and the Jefferson County Veterans Association, sits in reflection as the large American flag is raised at the Brilliant Memorial Monument. Ron Retzer is in the background. (Photo by Esther McCoy)

BRILLIANT — The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, was remembered by Brilliant American Legion 578 on this Patriots Day with a program Friday at 9 a.m. in front of the 9/11 Memorial Stone and American flag by the Legion post home.

Also participating in the event were members of several volunteer fire departments. Ron Retzer provided music suitable for that tragic time and how the nation pulled through.

Commander Deb Gilchrist handled the program from the outdoor podium and Bill Grubb, Mickey Nest and Roger Cline served as honor guard. Bill Smythe, past Legion commander and present chaplain, gave a prayer that recalled the terror that had befallen the United States but and the faith that carried the nation through.

Gilchrist asked for memories from the crowd on what Sept. 11 meant to them and six stepped up. Margaret Nicholson, a leader in activities in the community; Allison Yanssen, Wells Township clerk; Nest, Legion member; Richard Olivito, Democratic candidate for state representative; state Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction; and Retzer.

Hoagland, who served as a Navy SEAL, said 13 months after the bombing he was in Afghanistan with a former hotel borrowed for the use of their headquarters and those of CNN and went from bad to worse there.

Retzer explained that he was teaching at Brilliant Middle School when the Twin Towers were hit and didn’t believe it to be real at first. “But what I was seeing was real. “ Yanssen was 8-years-old at the time, and said that while it is hard for young minds to realize the horror, she did. Olivito said the event was more than the human mind could conceive to be real. But it was.

Retzer sang “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning.” Wells Township Fire Chief Don Hutchinson, Wells Township Police Chief John Ingram and New Alexander Police Chief Harry Fair placed a wreath at the monument with a rendering by Butch Brown of an eagle erected by Post 573.

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