Batavia VFW to host Patriot Day remembrance ceremony on Sept. 11

Family-friendly event is open to the public and includes music, food

The Batavia Overseas VFW Post 1197 will conduct its annual Patriot Day Remembrance Ceremony to commemorate the events of Sept. 11, 2001, at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at the VFW, 645 S. River St., Batavia.

The post has a ceremony every year on Sept. 11, which is the public holiday Patriot Day, to remember the terrorist attacks and to honor the thousands of American lives lost.

Batavia Overseas VFW Post 1197 Commander Jeff Swanson, an Army veteran and retired fire chief, said that Patriot Day is a time to remember when our country was attacked and the events that followed.

“It’s a day that we remember where we were that morning, and everyone was glued to the TV in awe of what was occurring,” he said. “We need to remember what happened, why that happened, and what we did about it as a nation. There was more patriotism, unification and a stronger commitment to your fellow man post-9/11 than ever before in my life. America was really united. People were flying flags and were proud to be Americans. That’s why it’s important that we remember.”

Swanson recalled just getting off duty as a firefighter the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when he saw the planes hitting the World Trade Center twin towers on TV.

He marched in the one-year anniversary parade in New York City.

“I have a sense of civic duty and obligation to participate and remember those who gave everything,” he said. “In a day where so many different things that are celebrated, some that have little meaning, days like Memorial Day, Independence Day – those have such significance. We can pause and remember and pay respect.”

The Patriot Day celebration will feature food vendors, live music by country artist Bill Gray at 6:30 p.m., and a brief ceremony and reflection at 7 p.m. Gray will continue his performance after the ceremony, Swanson said.

The free event is family-friendly, and leashed pets are welcome. Learn more about the post at vfw1197.org/di/vfw/v2/default.asp.

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows

Aimee Barrows is the editor of the Kane County Chronicle.