Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 20 Feb 2018 12am







    Monday, February 19, 2018-7:13:42P.M.






Font Size


VFW commander: Remember life before 9/11

VETERANS of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Post 3457 Commander Brad Ruszala encouraged people to remember life before 9/11 and recognize the bravery of men and women who seek to prevent the recurrence of the tragedy that killed 2,996 people and injured 6,000 others.

“There’s a whole generation of folks who were not even alive at that time,” he said. “They don’t really understand what life was like before, how carefree we were before and we didn’t have that kind of security for everything.”

Ruszala served as an infantryman in the Army and was deployed to Saudi Arabia in the early 1990s.

He said even if the CNMI is thousands of miles away from the mainland U.S., local residents rallied around the flag when the terrorist attacks occurred. “We are one big family and everybody came together. Having a commemoration event like this also means a lot.”

He added, “It is an honor being a part of this event. It recognizes so many things — it is not about soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen only, but it really put the focus on first responders.”

Ayuyu Batallion Capt. James Burke and SFC Giovanni Soruelo with JROTC cadets at American Memorial Park on Monday during the “We Will Never Forget: Field of Heroes” commemoration of the 9/11 attacks.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

He said he had friends in New York City who helped in the rescue operation on Sept. 11, 2001. “Firefighters, police officers, paramedics — they didn’t sign up for an enlistment like that. They were not going to war, but war came to them. Their bravery should also be the reason why we should commemorate that tragic event.”

Another veteran, Rep. Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero, said: “It is great to come together in solidarity as we remember those who perished while we also honor our not-forgotten heroes who responded to the call of duty and whose volunteerism saved many lives during this tragic event. We also honor those who continue to fight our battle against terrorism and for our freedom.”

Kagman High School JROTC Battalion Commander Kayleen Faisao and Cadet Maj. Edson Valdisimo also joined the Field of Heroes event at American Memorial Park on Monday as members of the JROTC Color Guard.

“This is a good event for people who are not aware of the Sept. 11 attacks. Most of our younger generation do not really know about it. But most of our teachers talk about the 9/11 attacks and what happened and what this event is all about,” Valdisimo said.

Faisao said she was only a year old when the tragedy happened. “But we discussed it in school. I know that many people died in that incident. Many people died as heroes. I feel honored to be able to take part in this event.”