9/11 Vauk and Ruth Memorial and Celebration

This is the speech I wrote for Mayor of Mount Airy Patrick Rockingberg's Patriot’s Day Speech on September 11, 2011.
"Thank you….
And thank you all for coming to the Pine Grove Chapel in Mount Airy for this Patriot’s Day 9/11 Ceremony. (PAUSE)
We are here to honor all of America’s Patriots, and especially those who gave their last and full measure on September 11, 2001, Navy Lieutenant Commander Ronald J. Vaulk and Army Chief Warrant William Ruth.As this is the 10th Anniversary of that fateful day, it is fitting that we pause to honor them, their lives, their families, and their ultimate sacrifice for us and our freedoms. 

For example, on one memorial stone before us here we read, “Let no vandalism or avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
This command by General John A Logan in 1868 is chiseled into the stone before you and we dedicate ourselves again today to meet that standard.
On the other memorial stone we read, “Dedicated to the honor and sacrifice of the men and women of Mount Airy who served in the Armed forces of the United States in all wars” is chiseled into the other stone before us today.
Take time today to look at the names on the back of those stones
They represent an unbroken line of men and women, including Lieutenant Vaulk and Chief Ruth, who have fought against tyranny and for American freedom. For twelve generations, from the Revolutionary War to the current on-going war against our enemies, American from our small town and around our great nation have sacrificed everything to preserve our life, our liberty, our families, and our American Way of Life
Today we especially honor and memorialize two of our neighbors who wore the American uniform and who perished at the Pentagon on 9/11/2001 while defending us and serving our country. 
Navy Lieutenant Commander Ronald J. Vaulk, a Naval Academy graduate and former submarine officer who served in the Persian Gulf War, was the Watch Commander in the Naval Command Center of the Pentagon that day. He was only 37 when he lost his life while on an assignment he had begun just the day before 
 and . . .
Army Chief Warrant William Ruth, 57, lost his life after surviving two wars, Vietnam and the First Gulf War. He was a Marine Officer and helicopter pilot in Vietnam who evacuated the wounded and dead, often under heavy enemy fire. He also taught young people as a social studies teacher for nearly 30 years while also serving as a Warrant Officer 4thClass with the Maryland National Guard.
[We especially want to express our deep gratitude to their families. Acknowledge family members].
I can think of no better way to pay tribute to these great men, their legacy, their ultimate sacrifice, and that of other military veterans who have given their all throughout our history than to honor them on this Patriot's Day Ceremony.
Their service and sacrifice to our country sets an awesome example to the youth gathered here today. They touched and changed many lives, many of which they never met.
The future of our great nation is in the hands of all of you gathered here today. You have an awesome responsibility and tradition to uphold a great legacy of freedom, liberty and sacrificial love. But looking at you today, I'm confident we are in good hands.
[Master of Ceremonies will note the groups in attendance)
May you always demonstrate the love of country, family, and God shown by those who came before, and may God Bless Commander Ronald J. Vaulk and Chief Warrant William Ruth.
Thank very much for being here today to keep these American Patriot’s lives and example alive. They give us strength now and an example to follow in the future.
Thank you May God protect Commander Vauk and Chief Ruth for our service, and may God bless and protect you, your memories, your families, and your sacrifice.
And may God continue to raise up great patriot’s from His people and bless this great Republic they loved so.
Read my latest blog (below) post to get context:

 Patriot Day Preliminary Plan Fact Sheet Mt. Airy 2011
Patrick Everich (an Eagle Scout candidate) is the event organizer for the Mt. Airy 2011 Patriot Day ceremony.  Working with his advisors and parents, Patrick secured the assistance of the previous event organizer Bob Rossi, the Marine Corps League, the Lions Club, the American Legion, Mr. Charles Samuels of Lowery Associates, the Trustees of the Pine Grove Chapel, WALMART, the Monumental City Ancient Fife and Drum Corps, Honorary Lance Corporals Buster and Gracie, and the Town of Mt. Airy.  These organizations and individuals are providing facilities, labor, material and financial support.
Before the ceremony an existing memorial honoring Navy Commander Ronald Vauk and Army Chief Warrant Officer William Ruth will be relocated from S. Main Street to the Pine Grove Chapel and rededicated on Patriot Day, Sunday September 11, 2011 at 2:00 PM.

The Patriot Day Ceremony will involve prayers and remembrance of Navy Commander Ronald Vauk and Army Chief Warrant Officer William Ruth who died in the attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.  Patriot Day also will honor various youth groups for their voluntary community service.  These youth groups are from the Civil Air Patrol, the Venturing Crew, Boy Scout, Cub Scout, Girl Scout, and athletic organizations.

Based on their adult unit leader’s recommendation each young person will receive a Promising Young American certificate from the Marine Corps League, Robert W. Deane Detachment, 770 and an American Achiever certificate from the American Legion, Gold Star Post 191.  Recipient’s names will be recorded in the official history of American Legion Gold Star Post 191.  Each participant will be given a hand held American flag.

The ceremony itself is planned to feature:

1.    Call to Order by Mayor Patrick Rockinberg, Master of Ceremonies
2.    Performance by the Monumental City Ancient Fife and Drum Corps
3.    Posting of the National Colors and State of Maryland Colors by the Civil Air Patrol Honor Guard.  They will provide flag bearers for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, POW, American Legion, Marine Corps League, American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, American Legion Riders and Honor and Remember colors
4.    Pledge of Allegiance   
5.    Amazing Grace Violin Solo by Eamon Curley
6.    Invocation and Remembrance, Chaplain Ann Wilson
7.    Guest Speaker Rebecca Kneebone, American Legion County Oratory Contest winner
8.    Presentation of Marine Corps League and American Legion certificates to unit adult leaders by Commandant Bob Horensky and Commander Rob Benson
9.    Memorial Rededication and Benediction
10. 21 Gun Salute
11. Taps by Luke Spiros, (USMC Retired)    
12. Photo opportunities for the youth with dignitaries, speaker, Fife and Drum Corps members and Honorary Lance Corporals Buster and Gracie


Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 2:00 PM


Pine Grove Chapel, S. Main Street, Mt. Airy Maryland


The Patriot Day Ceremony is conducted under the purview of the Town Administrator of Mt. Airy Monika Weierbach, and implemented by volunteers who contribute their time, talent and treasure simply because we are Americans. 

Pine Grove Chapel where the event was held has a long a distinguished history that covers two centuries. Below are some photos to give you an idea of just how distinguished. For example, notice the grave of John Vincent Ananasoff, the inventor of the computer. Yes, he really is and won a lawsuit against IBM to prove it.

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