By Major Kathy Oliver, 27th Brigade Combat TeamSeptember 15, 2010
BUFFALO, NY -New York Army National Guard Soldiers based at Buffalo's Masten Avenue Armory marked the anniversary of the Sept., 11 2001 my marching and giving blood.
Over 300 Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry; Company D, 427th Brigade Support Battalion; and the 105th Military Police Company and members of the Grand Island Volunteer Fire Department and Buffalo Police Department took part in the parade.
Memories of the events following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 remain vivid for Soldiers in Western New York as many of them mobilized for recovery operations to Ground Zero following the attacks. Over the past several years, many of the Soldiers have served on deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Participants marched from the Masten Avenue Armory to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) where 45 Soldiers were scheduled to donate blood.
The marchers were greeted by the President and Chief Executive Officer of RPCI, Doctor Donald L. Trump. Doctor Trump thanked the marchers and their family members for their selfless actions in donating blood.
"Donating blood is a fitting way to commemorate the terrorist attacks nine years ago. You are demonstrating a commitment to service, a commitment to life and a commitment to focus on facing challenges together," Trump said.
Captain Matthew Ryan, Commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry, organized the march and blood drive after a Soldier in his command, Spc. Mike Anderson, developed leukemia.
"Today, we remember those that we have lost that must never be forgotten," Ryan said.
Ryan talked of the struggle for Anderson and his family and how important it is to serve others, to be a selfless citizen and to care for others in need who cannot help themselves.
"Today is the day that we reinvent the idea of being American and remember our obligation to commitment, to pride in being American and to selfless service to our nation and to our communities," he told the Soldiers.
The blood donors were in high spirits during the drive.
Many were optimistic that their friend Mike would recover from his illness.
Others were proud that this one simple act could help others.
"I'm here, healthy and available. This is a good cause, and I just can't say no to something like that," said Private First Class Brinindune Taylor of Tonawanda, who joined the National Guard in April.