Local gifts spread the joy of the north country

Ellen Emery

The date at the top of this printed page and on the NNY360 posting for this day reads Sept. 11 — a date that always touches my heart. This is a date we must remember in honor of those who lost their lives now 18 years ago.

In an unthinkable terrorist attack, hijacked airplanes struck the World Trade Center in New York City. When United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 11 were intentionally crashed into the north and south towers, 2,753 people were killed. Most of those who perished were civilians except for 343 firefighters and 71 law enforcement officers who died in the World Trade Center and on the ground in New York City.

Another law enforcement officer died when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Penn. At the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., 184 people were killed. There were 55 military personnel who died at the military headquarters in Arlington County, Va.

Near Shanksville, 40 passengers and crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 93 died attempting to take control of the flight rather than having it reach its unknown destination.

There is always a huge U.S. flag unfurled at the Hogansburg Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department on this day. In the past, the signboard at Station One has read “We Made a Promise — Never Forget.”

The department’s touching display always makes me stop and remember. And I am grateful for that. Take a moment today and remember those who died that day — and remember those, especially our neighbors and friends, who gave their lives as they traveled to New York City to aid in the cleanup following the attack, too.

If there is a memorial service or a flag flying in remembrance, take a moment and pay tribute.

MILITARY CANINES HONORED

Stopping at the Hogansburg post office is always such a joy — the clerks are knowledgeable and skilled postal employees and friendly, too. Plus there is always a familiar face — perhaps a friend of one of our sons or an acquaintance I have not seen for some time to visit with. What fun it is to stop and catch up on family in the parking lot or lobby of the post office.

The postal clerks are always excited about new stamps. I usually leave with far more stamps than what are needed that day!

Last week was no exception — I needed stamps for mailing cards. Tabbitha showed me the most beautiful stamps of the anniversary of the moon walk (they were spectacular and were purchased), dinosaurs and Sesame Street stamps (sadly I have no young friends who would appreciate these stamps), but the ones that caught my eye were stamps honoring military dogs.

The stamps honor military working dogs and feature a background of red, white and blue complete with a star on each. Featured are a German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Dutch shepherd and Belgian Malinois.

“Brave and loyal military working dogs are essential members of America’s armed forces,” a statement by the postal service explained. The U.S. Postal Service also stated that military working dogs have served with U.S. soldiers in both World Wars, the Korean War, Vietnam War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is a framed photograph on the wall between our dining room and kitchen. The photo is among family photos and treasures. It pictures then-Massena resident U.S. Air Force Sgt. Anthony J. Creazzo (whom, I believe, now resides in California) serving in Iraq with Dar, a military canine.

I had first heard about these canine units while listening to WMSA. Anthony’s mother, Kathy, was asking for support of the canine units in an interview on the radio. Could it have been in 2004?

In letters written, Anthony emphasized that all of the dogs are provided with everything they need to complete their mission, but treats were not part of that. Some toys and brushes were provided, but Anthony pointed out they didn’t last long.

I got to know the Creazzo home as we all collected supplies for the canine units in Iraq. Anthony’s parents, Mike and Kathy, would package the boxes and each was sent to Sgt. Creazzo in Iraq.

The canines were trained to detect explosives and people, Anthony had told me then. He said their main mission at that time was detection. He said the dogs served in a position that could not be replaced by any source of technology or number of troops.

“Our K-9 partners are more than just dogs to us,” he told me through an email in 2004. “They are our lifelines.”

I am grateful I heard Mrs. Creazzo’s voice on the radio now more than a decade ago. I am grateful the Creazzo family shared the work of their son and the canine units with us.

And today I am grateful the USPS has honored the work of the military dogs. Stop and purchase a stamp honoring the canine units and send them to a friend so they can remember and honor this amazing group who work diligently and give their lives to protect and serve during wartime.

CHANGING SEASONS

Monday was an absolutely beautiful day, the sky azure and the air clear. As I visited with friends, we all agreed fall was in the air — the leaves were beginning to change, and the temperatures were cooler that day.

I have two sisters who live in California. Last week when I mentioned that Sweet Treats had closed for the season, both of them (who read this column online) commented they knew of no place in California that closed for a change in seasons!

I smiled as I listened to their comments about a rainy season but with no real change and was grateful that we do have a change of seasons complete with colorful leaves and cooler sun-filled days. And I am grateful for life in the north country on a September morning.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“Success is on the same road as failure; success is just a little further down the road.”

— Jack Hyles

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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