Newton VFW Auxiliary hosts remembrance of 9/11

Chad Frey
The Kansan
The Whitesell-Finnell VFW Ladies Auxiliary hosted a 9/11 memorial ceremony in Military Park on Sept. 11, 2001 that included members of the National Guard.

Jacob Pomeroy was a sophomore at Hesston High School on Sept. 11, 2001, the day he found his purpose. He can pinpoint the exact moment he found that purpose — moments after a teacher wheeled a television into the library for students to watch history unfold. 

He watched, like millions of others, as a plane crashed into the World Trade Center — the second plane to do so that morning. He watched in horror as the towers fell to the ground, killing hundreds of first responders and thousands of civilians who were unable to escape the buildings. 

"Today, of all days, is the day that shaped my adult life," Pomeroy said. "... I decided that day that I was going to do something about it."

He knew he would join the military, and, in his words "take the fight to them." His military career began at West Point, officer's training. He went on to serve nearly two decades. 

"I decided I wanted to lead troops in combat," Pomeroy said. 

Pomery shared his story 20 years later during a ceremony hosted at Military Park in Newton by the Whitesell-Finnell VFW Ladies Auxiliary. 

He also spoke of the heroes of Flight 93 — an airplane hijacked by terrorists the came under attack by civilians aboard resulting in the plan crashing in an empty farm field in Pennsylvania. 

"Those people set a an example of true heroism for me and for the path that I took following 9/11," Pomeroy said. 

Jacob Pomeroy was a sophomore at Hesston High School when the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon convinced him to enter the military for a career.

The 2021 morning of observance was solemn, starting with a Boy Scout color guard raising the flag to half-staff. Prayer by a VFW chaplain followed, along with the message from Pomeroy. First responders and active military who were in attendance — members of Newton FIre/EMS, the Harvey County Sheriff's Department and Army National Guard — were honored with gifts. 

The Auxiliary provided bottled water and cookies for all in attendance following the ceremony. 

The Whitesell-Finnell VFW Ladies Auxiliary hosted a 9/11 memorial ceremony in Military Park on Sept. 11, 2001

And that fateful day,  one when  19 terrorists from al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airplanes, deliberately crashing two of the planes into the upper floors of the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center complex and a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia; was remembered.

"The time since then, I have spent 20 years dealing with religious extremist groups across he globe. I can tell you from my last 12 years as an officer ... that we are in great hands when it comes to dealing with people who need to be dealt with," Pomery said.