SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s been 20 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and memorials are being held throughout western Massachusetts to commemorate the anniversary.
Friday night was about reflecting on history and a memorial service held in South Hadley reflected on the veterans who fought in the 20-year war that followed the attacks.
“How this was closed out has been very stressful on all of us,” said Brian Willette, a veteran. “There’s been a lot of opinions but no answers. We aren’t really offering any answers tonight we are offering camaraderie, companionship, support to one another and that’s what we are all about.”
The 20-year war on terror is over, but veterans from every war, won’t allow the work done in Iraq and Afghanistan be forgotten.
“No other generation has done that,” said Scott Daigneauelt, another veteran. “There’s the greatest generation out there they’ve done their thing for this country as well but none of them have done it as long as this generation.”
The memorial service was a way to bring veterans and their families together. To serve as a reminder their sacrifice will always mean something.
“The way it ended is a lot like Vietnam,” said Lenny Desrochers, a Vietnam veteran. “I remember one Iraq veteran said it seems like they died for nothing. I said ‘no, never think that they died for their country.’”
Veterans calling the support system they have an honor.
“This an absolute great honor to be here with these guys,” said Philip Sorensen, a veteran.
Not only was the ceremony a way to support those who came back from war, but to remember those who didn’t.
“Obviously being a brother of a fallen service member and a veteran myself this is very near and dear to me,” said Christopher Dupont.
Also in attendance, Friday night were counselors from the veterans center. They’re reminding all veterans to reach out if they are struggling.