Ceremony honors patriots and POW/MIAs

By Sherre Mitten-Bell DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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Sacrifices for freedom must never be forgotten.  Defense Distribution Center, Susquehanna, employees gathered on the fourteenth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, in remembrance of those sacrifices, which came as a reminder that freedom is not free.  

They joined to honor the victims and acknowledge first responders at the installation’s Emergency Services facilities, aptly named Building 911.  The event also served as an opportunity to gather in remembrance of the sacrifices made by other American patriots- those killed, missing, or taken prisoner while defending the Nation.

Hosted by DLA Distribution commander Army Brig. Gen. Richard B. Dix, the observance featured a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. to coincide with the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Dix asked of those who gathered, “In paying respect to all those who came before us, both civilian and military, take a moment to give thanks to all the warriors who fought in battles, those who have come back and those who have not. All of these individuals have worked so hard to ensure us the freedom we have today.”

Carmen Gordon, the event’s guest speaker, is the Gold Star wife of Army Master Sgt. Gary Gordon.  She spoke in honor of her husband’s memory and to remind others of those who have lost their lives defending freedom.  He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service and heroic actions during the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, where he and Randall Shughart were snipers in the Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta.  They sacrificed their own lives to protect four critically wounded downed helicopter crew members.

She described that painful day in October when she and her young children knew for certain that Master Sgt. Gordon, husband and father, was not coming home again. “Every cool, fall morning I am reminded of that day,” she said. “But I am comforted in knowing that Gary’s selfless actions saved his fellow soldiers.” Her story reminded the audience that not only does a soldier sacrifice, but so too does their family.

Gordon joined installation Police Chief Doug Schraeder and Fire Chief Henry Hoffman in dedicating a wreath in honor of heroes who have perished protecting and serving the country.

The American Legion William H. Nauss Post 143 American Legion Riders performed a Field Cross Ceremony as a memorial for U.S. prisoners of war and those missing in action.  For over two decades, the local Legion has joined with the installation as participants in a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony.  

DLA Installation Support at Susquehanna Security and Emergency Services staff coordinated the observance, with the station that houses emergency response equipment serving as a fitting venue for the gathering.