American Legion

American Legion Post 15 commander, Michael Collins addresses attendees at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in Palmer.

WASILLA — American Legion Post 35 in Wasilla and Post 15 in Palmer honored the lives lost in the 9/11 terror attack during the 20th anniversary Saturday, Sept. 11.

Each post held its own ceremony with members and visitors from across the Valley.

Post 15 held a ceremony with speaker presentations, video clips, and a community barbecue.

“I thought it went really well,” According to Post 15 Finance Officer, Don Maupin said.

“We experience brief moments of unity following horrific terrorist attacks… What occurred on 9/11 was indeed tragic. But, the legacy of those lost on that day need not be so… Richard Santos was the National Commander of the American Legion on Sept.11, 2001. Shortly after the attacks, he penned a message that still resonates two decades later, ‘America continues to heal and it is our responsibility as veterans to tend to the wounds.’” Post 15 commander, Michael Collins said during the ceremony.

In addition to the 9/11 related ceremonies, Pos 15 Legion members set 13 tables with white tablecloths for the 13 U.S. service members killed in the recent attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

According to Maupin, this was the second time their post has held a ceremony for 9/11. He said they were able to establish the new annual tradition last year in spite of the pandemic.

“Nobody else was doing it last year and yet Senator Sullivan showed and Shelly Hughes showed last year… Anchorage was still fairly locked up but we weren’t out here,” Maupin said.

Maupin said they plan to keep holding a ceremony each year for 9/11 to honor all the efforts of first responders, all the lives lost in the attack, and all the soldiers that continue to die overseas as a result of the terror attack.

“We are a veterans organization that serves the community. 9/11 started the war on terrorism. We have a lot of veterans here that came from that conflict. A lot of their children weren’t even born then. If they were, they were very young. So, I think it’s important to keep the education and the awareness of that,” Maupin said.

Post 35 Commander, Ron Travis said they had a lighter turnout than they hoped, but the ceremony still resonated with those who attended. He said they went through a number of ceremonial traditions such as posting the flags with a local Boy Scouts troop and performing Taps throughout the evening.

“It was pretty quiet,” Travis said.

According to Travis, Post 35 also intends to keep holding a ceremony for 9/11 each year. He said it’s important to keep doing events like these to help keep the awareness going so people in the community keep the conversation going and never forget what happened that fateful day in 2001, as well as other important historic moments like Pearl Harbor.

“There’s lessons to be learned, but they won’t be if we don’t talk about it,” Travis said. “Those days in history need to be remembered.”

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@forntiersman.com

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