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September 14, 2010 — Katy, Texas –  The commemoration of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, led by the Katy Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9182, was held at LaCenterra shopping center on the evening of Friday, September 10, 2010.  A large crowd turned out to remember and reflect on the 500 plus Texans that have died since the war on terror began.  The remarks centered on the theme that from that tragic day, the lives of Americans have dramatically changed, and with that change, comes the challenge of defeating terrorism.   Recognition was given to the sacrifices of the military and their families in keeping America safe in the face of this violent threat to our way of life.  The VFW paid special tribute to the four Texans who perished this day nine years ago.

The program opened with the presentation of colors, the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Texas State flag, which was led by Girl Scout troop 17660.  Moving opening remarks from VFW Commander Mike Mastrangelo,  Dave Scott, Willowfork Fire Department and Deputy Sheriff Roger Castillo, Fort Bend County Sherriff’s Department, which drew patriotic applause from all in attendance, were followed by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts reading the moment to moment timeline of events from the morning of September 11, 2001.

 “We must remember that whereas 9/11 was the most horrific of attacks, it was by no means the only one or the last.  The events of 9/11 touched us all.  Many lost family members and friends.  We took comfort in the courage and compassion that Americans displayed in the aftermath of the plane crashes.  For the military, and for Texas, the legacy of 9/11 continues in the deserts and cities of Iraq and the mountains and villages of Afghanistan”, stated Commander Mike Mastrangelo, VFW in his opening remarks.  He went on to note that we gather to honor the courage and sacrifice made every day by our men and women who wear the uniform of the US military, and those who serve the community as firefighters and law enforcement officers.  

Following a moment of silence for all those who perished that day, Master of Ceremonies George Rissky, VFW, invited the Boy Scout Troop 1103 and Girl Scout Troops 17660 to read personal comments about the four Texans who perished this day.   Michael E. Tinley of Dallas, Texas, LT Colonel Karen J. Wagner of San Antonio, Texas, Petty Officer Third Class Daniel M. Caballero of Houston, Texas and Jimmy N. Storey of Katy, Texas were killed as they went about their daily lives on this day nine years ago.

The symbolic flag presentation led by VFW Post 9182 and the Ladies Auxiliary recognized three local Texans personally impacted by the events of September 11, 2001.  They were presented with flags that had flown over Kandahar, Afghanistan.  The first flag was presented to Warrant Officer Glenn Gerald, who was awarded the Bronze Star while serving in Iraq.  Rob Lynch, from the Willowfork Fire Department, was presented the second flag.  Lynch had participated in the rebuilding effort at Ground Zero.  Dianna Pectal, a Girl Scout troop leader, was originally from New York and now resides in Katy, received the third flag.  She tragically lost two cousins at the World Trade Center.  

Chief Tyler Meyer, Katy Division, US Naval Sea Cadets drew emotion and participation from those gathered when signing “God Bless America.” 

Another moment of silence was felt after the Willowfork Fire Department chimed the old firehouse bell “Tolling 5-5-5-5” to recognize the fallen firefighters.  This was followed by the moving sounds of Taps played by Jeff King, and the firing of the volleys by seven outstanding law enforcement personnel from Fort Bend County Sherriff’s Department Honor Guard, which concluded the solemn remembrance service.   Mastrangelo, who grew up just outside of New York City, said he was “moved” and very grateful by the turnout and the warm cooperation the VFW got from all the participants.  “I was especially pleased to have the young scouts be a part of this program.  It is important that our young people know what happened and forever draw inspiration from the courage of those first responders”.  

For more information about the VFW or if you know a veteran or a family member of a veteran in distress, please contact Colonel (Ret) Mike Mastrangelo, Commander, at  281-391-8387.  For membership information, contact Dave Brasell at 713-725-3938.  Post meetings are held at the VFW Hall on George Bush Drive in Katy on the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Please mention you found this on www.KatyMagazine.com.

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