Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 24, 2001

Terrorism attack observance highlights council meeting, Legion donates flag

By Patrice Waldron

When the Winsted City Council met Tuesday, it was in front of members of the Martin Krueger American Legion Post 407, police officers, citizens, and Winsted Fire Chief Paul Herbolsheimer.

The items on the agenda of the 28-minute meeting were upstaged by the honoring of the victims of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. last week.

Mayor Don Guggemos lead the group in observing a moment of silence.

He spoke of the many people he talked to who knew someone in New York, or who knew of someone involved.

"It's closer to home than we think," Guggemos said.

The roomful of people rose and solemnly said the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag provided by a large group of Winsted Legion members.

Herbolsheimer then addressed those present with this message:

As people across the United States, and across the world mourn the death of all of those who have lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and those lost in Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania, there has been a revitalization of American patriotism. I, for one, stand taller as an American citizen.

Our President, George W. Bush, has declared war on terrorism, calling this the first war of the 21st century.

Unlike any war in history, the first men and women to engage in battle were not the Navy Seals, the US Marines, the US Army, nor the US Air Force.

The first group to respond to protect American citizens was not a branch of the United States Military.

Members of the New York Fire Department, emergency medical personnel, and the members of the New York Police Department were the ones who accepted the challenge, and were on the front line, in the first battle, of the first war, of the 21st century.

At this time, there are about 300 emergency response personnel still unaccounted for in the wake of this disastrous attack.

To honor the fallen, all joined Herbolsheimer in reciting "A Fireman's Prayer."

Legion Commander Dick Genty presented the city of Winsted with an American flag in honor of the victims of the recent tragedy.

The victims included many firemen, police officers, rescue personnel, and emergency personnel who have put their lives at risk trying to reduce the casualties.

"Thousands of Americans over the years have served their country under the American flag with pride, dignity, honor, and courage," Genty said.

Legion Chaplain Gordon Kubasch led the group in a prayer.

The members of the American Legion, Herbolsheimer, and others were thanked by Guggemos for their presence at the meeting.

"A Fireman's Prayer"

When I am called to duty God

where ever flames may rage,

give me the strength

to save some life

whatever be its age.

Help me embrace a little child

before it is too late,

or save an older person from

the horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout,

and quickly and efficiently

to put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling and

to give the best in me,

to guard my every neighbor and

protect his property.

And if according to my fate

I am to lose my life,

please bless with your

protecting hand

my children and my wife.

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