“Did you see that?”

Craig Streeter remembers being on a medical call in Collins when he heard the news. As soon as he could get back to the station, he found a TV and saw the headlines. One of the towers of the World Trade Center had been hit by a hijacked plane. A second plane would hit the building and two more planes were taken over by foreign terrorists.

“Nobody said a word,” Streeter said. “It was a solemn 24-hour shift. A lot of tears were shed and anger stated. I wanted a little payback myself.”

20 years later, however, has given Streeter plenty of time to reflect. On the anniversary of 9/11, Streeter led a memorial service on the Benton County courthouse lawn for those who died that day in his current capacity as Commander of the Vinton American Legion Post 57. After leading a crowd of approximately 50 people, Streeter introduced Sergeant Major Peter Moeller, Casualty Operations Program Manager at the National Guard Bureau. For the past 12 years, Moeller has worked in survivor outreach, funeral honors and casualty operations. He was 17 when he enlisted in the military, at a time before 9/11 when “we were worried more about what our computers were going to do at the turn of the century” than an attack on American soil.

“Almost 13 months in my enlistment, this tragic event occurred,” Moeller said. “As a young man, I had no sense of reality. What was to happen to me? Was our livelihood at stake? I knew one thing: I was in the right position to be a solution.”

Moeller was deployed twice in his career, serving as a medic in both Afghanistan and Iraq. His focus later turned to his current operation. He is the man who knocks on doors of families at random hours when their loved one is killed overseas. Yet, Moeller said he loves his job and lets the lessons of 9/11 drive him to this day.

“It taught me compassion,” Moeller said. “Others have struggles that I will never be able to comprehend. It taught me to take care of others at their greatest time of need.”

Moeller asked the audience to consider what impact 9/11 has had on them and how it can make you “a little better of a person.” He also asked everyone to continue to remember the 3,000+ people who died on 9/11 and the thousands of American servicemen and women who have died fighting against terrorism.

The service was concluded with “the last call”, a tradition where a fire department bell is rung three times with a pause each over three consecutive signals. The Vinton Fire Department had the honors and taps was played by Streeter.

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