9/11 American Flag Remembrance on the Waterfront

By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

I was listening to the Mandy Connell show on WHAS 840 AM radio on Friday when I heard about the planting of 30,000 American Flags arranged to spell out USA for Sunday, September 11 ceremony to remember the 3000 innocent people who died on September 11. Fred Moore, the founder of Vets4flags, said the needed volunteers to help out with the project from 12:00 – 8:00 pm on Saturday. I decided to volunteer but got a late start because I had earlier plans. Then 45 minutes in traffic on I-71 put downtown at 2:00 p.m. When I officially arrived at the site, to my astonishment all the flags were out along with Black Jack Riderless Horse statue.  (I remember seeing this beautiful black riderless Horse when I was watching from my classroom in elementary school in 1963 as JFK’s casket was being pulled by a Horse through the our Capitol’s streets).  I introduced myself to Fred Moore. He said there so many volunteers that the work was completed in less than 2 hours. I learned from Fred that he and I shared a lot of the same ideas and concerns about the future of America!

Who is Fred Moore, the Executor Director of Vets4Flags?

Fred Moore was a medical corpsman with the First and Third Divisions from 1968 to 1972. Before he was assigned to a Marine unit overseas, Fred was assigned temporary duty on the Burn Ward at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital taking care of Marines and Soldiers who came home from Vietnam with the worst kind of injuries that anyone can imagine and they looked to “Doc” Moore for medical care, compassion, strength and support. Fred said, “Just a year out of high school, nothing in my training or my experience prepared me for my duties on the Burn Ward.” When his time was up from his military commitment, Fred went to college in San Diego on the GI bill. The next years Fred spent trying to forget his past horrific experiences with the injured from Vietnam but as fate would have it, Fred passed by the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego just as volunteers were placing flags in thousands of Veterans’ graves for Memorial Day and stopped to help. That day, Fred said he decided as a Veteran, it was his job to remind Americans how much we need to show the troops and especially the troops that have given up their lives for our country the respect for their service. (My nephew is currently a Marine Navigator in a Hornet Jet Fighter and my husband is retired Army).   Fred currently works at Papa Johns but will soon retire and Flags4Vets will become his full time retirement job.

Joe Chrysler, who is retired Army, was one of the volunteers I met at the Waterfront. Joe was worked on tanks in the Army. We talked about the Army and how things changed while he was in active duty. He said families have not become more precious to the Department of Defense because of all the multiple deployments that are a happening since 9/11. He said when he was first a young soldier men were the soldiers but in today’s world women are a major force. Sometimes both parents are soldiers and they have to deal with who will take care of the children.

I explained to Joe that I had written many columns in my magazine, Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, after 9/11 regarding many problems our soldiers faced in the field that most Americans could never perceive.  Because of my work with the Navy SEALs and my involvement with the Army as a military wife, I had a good idea of some inside facts that many Americans are not privy to.  Soldiers faced potential health problems such as dehydration due to the heat plus were required to carry heavy weapons and ammo which could add a lot of extra weight. Plus soldiers were required to wear protective armor to keep them safe. The protective armor would also increase their body temperature thus increasing the possibility of dehydration as well. Joe said that over the years the type and placement of the body armor has changed because of the type of injuries that were being sustained in these particular wars. Joe reminded me that “it is 40 degrees hotter in a tank than it is outside the tank.”

Black Jack the Riderless Horse

The National Flags for Veterans’ Graves organization, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, created a life-sized likeness of one of the most memorable Horses of all time, Black Jack, the riderless Horse that followed the caisson carrying the casket of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in his funeral procession to Arlington Cemetery in November of 1963. During his 29 years of service Black Jack participated in the state funerals of JFK, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon Johnson, and Five-Star General Douglas MacArthur, and he escorted hundreds of our military to their final resting places.

The 9/11 Ceremony

Fire Engine help to fly the American Flag high above the ceremony for all to see.

The ceremony started with the Louisville Fir and Rescue Pipes and Drums playing.

Rev Barry Brandon prayed.

Governor Beshear said we were afraid and then we got strength and unity and came together. We learned what was important in life, turned to God and prayed more.  What bounds us together was greater than our differences. He said use this day to re-examine our conscious.

Senator Mitch McConnell was next up to bat. He said 1 out of 5 soldiers in the Middle East are from units based in Kentucky.  “You can destroy our symbols but not our resolve.”  Senator McConnell said Kentuckian Sergeant Dakota Meyer, from Greensburg, KY and a living Marine veteran,  will soon officially receive the highest award for valor called the Medal of Honor.

Representative John Yarmuth said “America’s strength is its people.” He read a passage from the New Republic detailing the wounding decade we have suffered and a need for renovation that will secure and better our nation with that attitude transmitted to our children.

Mayor Fischer shared how he was able to discuss the 9/11 attack with his children. He says “children are resilient and we have to move on.”  He said “America is not defined by how we were attacked but how we respond.” Mayor Fischer said 70,000 meals were served to the people in New York City at Ground Zero by the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Neal Richmond, MD, Louisville EMS Director, worked at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center and was at Ground Zero working to help survivors of 9/11.

There was a 21 gun salute and an Air National Guard Fly Over to commemorate 9/11.

It was a beautiful day and a memorable tribute to all those innocent people who died on 9/11. God Bless America!

Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N, is a registered dietitian (www.DayByDayNutrition.com) who has been teaching healthy lifestyles strategies to consumers for over 35+ years. Check out Barbara’s new healthy lifestyles website: www.KentuckianaHEALTHwellness.com.