Never forget those who haven’t forgotten.
That was the message by U.S. Army Reservist SFC John Nicholas of Andover during the town’s Sept. 11 observances last week.
Nicholas urged those gathered outside the Town Offices on Bartlet Street to be mindful of the sacrifices made by military families today as tens of thousands continue to serve their country in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
“When a reservist or National Guardsman deploys, home and work life are disrupted,” said Nicholas, who has served for 30 years, including completing several deployments. “The financial impacts and changeover to the military health care system are just one part of the adjustment.”
Nicholas told the crowd that while serving in the Army Reserves the last 12 years, he has missed “over 100 Little League games, over 50 Junior League high school football games, 30 birthdays, over 20 holidays, five wedding anniversaries and I have yet to make it to a graduation for one of my children.”
This year’s ceremony honored citizen soldiers like Nicholas serving in the National Guard and reserves who answered the call in the Global War on Terror to keep Americans safe in a post-9/11 world.
It included a floral tribute to the local victims of 9/11. Andover lost four people on Sept. 11: Christopher Morrison at the Word Trade Center, Millie Naiman and Betty Ong on American Airlines Flight 11, and Len Taylor on American Airlines Flight 77.
“For those people I’ve mentioned here today and for the thousands serving worldwide right now to keep us safe,” Nicholas said, “that’s why we must remember the events and sacrifice of Sept. 11, 2001.”
— Dustin Luca, staff writer