WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- To most Americans, the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, brought flashbacks, prayers, and wreath-laying during this week of commemorations that spread from Bangor, Maine to the Watervliet Arsenal to Seattle, Wash.

For the first time since those attacks nine years ago, the arsenal workforce assembled underneath the garrison's flagpole to not only recall the events of that day -a day that is strongly sewn into our nation's fabric - but also to renew our faith in tradition and history.

In a simple ceremony that brought together Department of the Army Civilians, troops from the New York National Guard and from the U.S. Army Albany Recruiting Battalion, the arsenal commemorated those who died and those who became heroes as a result of those tragic events.

As part of this commemoration, Arsenal Commander Col. Mark F. Migaleddi took an opportunity to remind the workforce that the arsenal is an Army institution and has been since 1813.

"This is a great Army organization because we have a profound history that is steep in tradition and custom," Migaleddi said. "One such custom is the raising of the National Flag every morning during Reveille and the lowering of the flag during Retreat."

After Migaleddi's remarks, Soldiers from the New York National Guard fired a volley and folded the National Flag in a Retreat ceremony for the arsenal's workforce. To many, this was the first time that they had witnessed such tradition and history.

Migaleddi said there would be more events such as this one to help the workforce renew its ties to the Army.

The arsenal then took its 9/11 and Army messaging outside the fence line by participating in the City of Troy's Uncle Sam Gravesite Ceremony. The City had invited Migaleddi to be the keynote speaker at this year's event that was attended by Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian and other political and civic leaders.

To anyone who has ever seen a World War I recruiting poster of a gray-haired man pointing his finger saying "Uncle Sam Wants You," they know who Uncle Sam is.

Long past the projected life expectancy of folks during the early 1800s, Uncle Sam was well into his 40s when the War of 1812 broke out. Nevertheless, Samuel Wilson, aka Uncle Sam, stepped up and helped feed an American Army at a time when Fort Detroit was surrendering and the City of Washington was being invaded.

Although Migaleddi praised the service of Uncle Sam, after all that was why he was invited to speak, he did take an opportunity to talk about the events on Sept. 11, 2001.

Migaleddi said that this date is as profound to our generation as the attack on Pearl Harbor was to Americans in 1941.

"In both attacks, significant loss of life was achieved by the attackers, as well as great examples of heroism by Americans who immediately responded to those attacks," Migaleddi said. "But more importantly, these profound moments, notwithstanding at great cost of life, also became points in time where America's greatness rose above the shock, pain, and the sadness."

Migaleddi reminded everyone that our nation's work is not yet done.

"As we assemble here today, there are more than 100,000 troops deployed to such places as Iraq and Afghanistan," said Migaleddi. "And so, the tie to Uncle Sam today could not be more timely or appropriate."

Although Soldiers and Civilians no longer stand by the arsenal flag pole, and the Troy community has long since left the gravesite of an American icon, the one thing that still remains is that during times of crisis, emergency, and certainly when our troops are deployed, we are one. After all, we are Americans.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16