“We Remember” 9/11
Merrill remembers Sept. 11 on the 20th anniversary of the day America came under attack
TINA L. SCOTT
Beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at the Northwoods Veterans Post in Merrill, the Merrill community commemorated the 20th anniversary of the day America came under attack. “We Remember” was the culmination of many organizations and individuals coming together to remember, to process, and hopefully, to continue healing, along with community members in attendance.
Former Merrill Mayor and Past Commander of VFW Post 1638, Bill Bialecki, narrated the ceremony, bells tolled, and flags were retired.
• The Merrill Fire Department retired its flag in honor of the 343 firefighters and 2 paramedics who perished on Sept. 11, 2001.
• The Merrill Police Department retired its flag in honor of the 61 police officers who perished on Sept. 11, 2001.
• VFW Post 1638 retired the Northwoods Veterans Post flag in honor of the 55 military who perished on Sept. 11, 2001; the 2.77 million who fought in the War on Terror; and the 7,057 who have given the ultimate sacrifice since Sept. 11, 2001.
• The Dornbrack family retired the Merrill High School flag in honor of the 5 children on Flight 77 and the 3 children on Flight 175 who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, and the 3,051 children who lost their parents on Sept. 11, 2001. They also acknowledged the 1.5 million military families that have sacrificed years of missed birthdays and anniversaries and are left with the extended effects of war.
• Alderman Paul Russell retired the City of Merrill flag in honor of the everyday average citizens who became heroes on Sept. 11, 2001.
The names of the 13 military heroes who lost their lives on Aug. 26, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan, were read. Eleven were Marines from Massachusetts, California, Utah, Nebraska, Indiana, Texas, Missouri, and Wyoming; one was a Navy Corpsman from Ohio; and one was an Army Staff Sgt. from Tennessee. The Honor Guard raised a new flag over the Northwoods Veterans Post in honor of the resilience of the American people to unite as one and move forward.
The sound of TAPS being played, then silence to honor those lives lost, and then the eerie beauty of the playing of bagpipes broke the silence.
VFW Chaplin John Rathke led the group in prayer, the Scouts led the pledge to the flag, and everyone joined in singing the National Anthem.
Speakers at the event included VFW Post 1638 Commander Arnold Viljevac, Merrill native Master Chief Michael Jaeger, VFW State Junior Vice Commander Ron Ramos, and Miss Wisconsin 2021, Jennifer Schmidt.
The ceremony of remembrance concluded with motorcycle engines roaring to life, as area motorcyclists, many of whom were also veterans, left to begin the Merrill Area Community Ride (MACR) Annual Rosco’s Ride event, with proceeds to go to the Northwoods Veterans Post.