09/12/11 On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, members and friends of the Plymouth Phi Delta Kappa joined with the Indiana Patriot Guard Riders to honor and remember those serving in the military now and those that have been lost, along with the EMS, firefighters, and police everywhere. The event began at the Phi Delta Kappa facility on West Harrison Street with a processional of riders through the city, a solemn ceremony at Oakhill Cemetery and a fundraiser.
Leading the procession were a city fire truck, EMS vehicle and Phi Delta Kappa members Steve Keiser and Joe Clinton.
As the riders dismounted their bikes, each held a flag as they formed a semi-circle in front of the permanent commemorative cross display at the cemetery.
The ceremony included a color guard made up of members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Leading the Color Guard was Julian Keiser, commander of the American Legion and father of Steve Keiser.
Giving both the invocation and benediction for the occasion was Ann Marie Kneebone, interim pastor of the First United Church of Christ in Plymouth. During her opening prayer, Kneebone said, “We come before you gently and grieving for lives lost.”
Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter spoke saying, “We honor them (those lost in the terrorist attack) today and tomorrow- and evermore.”
Representing the Indiana Patriot Guard Riders was Dennis Francis. Francis was in the United States Marine Corps from 1980-1993. Francis said, “Unfortunately, the way the world is today, I don’t think its’ going to end.”
Francis said the organization that he supports uses their resources to welcome soldiers home and send them off.
Proceeds from the hog roast fundraiser that followed the ceremony organized by the Phi Delta Kappa will be given to the Patriot Riders to help them send care packages to soldiers oversees, help families of soldiers who are experiencing financial difficulties, providing items for soldiers recuperating at Walter Reed Hospital and aiding American military personnel in hospitals in Afghanistan. Their mission also includes attending funeral services of fallen American heroes and veterans as invited guests of the families.
Attending the fundraiser were four national officers and two trustees of Phi Delta Kappa. National President Craig Brutout said, “This type of project is great for us as Phi Delta Kappa members, great for the community, and stands as recognition for those lost in 9/11.”
According to Francis, last year the organization sent some 10,000 care packages, each weighing between 60-80 pounds that soldiers are encouraged to share with one another.
During the Oakhill ceremony, Francis presented two plaques to Phi Delta Kappa in appreciation for their support. As he presented them to Keiser and Clinton, Francis said, “We stand for those who stand for us.”
Carol Anders Correspondent