Local soldiers reflect on 9/11's effects on America

NORWICH – Nearly everyone in America agrees Sept. 11, 2001 was a defining moment in our country’s history, but for many in the United States Armed Services, the attack on the World Trade Center was just the beginning.

Staff Sergeant Willard Brown has served his country and his state for 29 years, participating in the U.S. Navy from 1977 through 1982 before enlisting in the New York State National Guard. He was at Ground Zero shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center took place, and he was deployed to Iraq to serve there as a result.

His Guard Unit, the 204th Engineers Alpha Company out of Walton, were called to stand guard around the World Trade Center.

“We worked 12 to 14 hour shifts for nine days,” he said. “There was nothing we could do. The destruction was already done,” Brown said.

“Right after it happened, it brought the country back together,” he said. “People cared about each other.” Brown thinks that some of that has been lost over the last five years, as the country grows more complacent.

“People think that this can never happen again. They don’t understand why we’re fighting,” he said.

In the resulting war on terror, Brown and his unit were sent to Iraq. They were there from March of 2004 to March of 2005.

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