On Sept. 11, 2001, Nathan Feger was in training with the U.S. Army at Fort Eustis, Virginia when word of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center reached the base.
“They immediately locked down the base and put us in secure areas,” Feger recalled. “Aircraft were launched to provide security because we were close to DC, and we all sat around radios and TVs listening to what was happening. No one knew what was going on.”
Now a staff member at K9s for Warriors, retired Sgt. Feger joined with fellow veterans and their service dogs Sunday to mark the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. At 8:45 a.m. – one minute before the first plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center – K9s for Warriors veterans and their service dogs circled the flagpole at Camp K9 in Nocatee as staff members unfurled the American flag. At 8:46, the soldiers snapped to attention and saluted as the flag was hoisted and Taps was played.
“Today, we honor all the innocent lives that were lost that day and the men and women who rose up to defend our liberty,” Executive Director Rory Diamond told attendees.
K9s for Warriors Founder Shari Duval noted the ongoing cost of remaining vigilant and the price of freedom.
“Since (9/11), 5,000 have been killed in action defending our freedom and defending our right to live in a free society,” she said. “We also have 22 veterans a day committing suicide as a result of that. Please never forget.”
Feger – whose wife Jenny and 3-year-old daughter Willa attended the 9/11 ceremony – said it’s important for people to share what happened that day with future generations.
“I just would like our kids to know – they don’t remember what happened,” said Feger, holding Willa in his arms. “We want them to know.”