Earlier this month, just in time for the 20th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, newly appointed New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a citation to honor the members of the New York National Guard for their service during that time, an effort that local Dave Rogers, 14-year Army veteran and past commander of VFW Post 2913, has been leading for years.
“It is hard to believe it has been 20 years; for the last 18 years, I have been fighting for this day, thinking at times it may never happen,” said Rogers, ecstatic from the news. “Gov. Hochul didn’t make excuses or push it off; she understood the importance of this and made it happen.”
The citation acknowledges the debt of gratitude owed to the first responders and members on that day, as well as the weeks, months, and years that followed.
“From Sept. 12 to Nov. 17, a total of 6,716 members of the New York Army and Air National Guard, New York Naval Millitia, and New York Guard, provided security and logistics support to recovery workers and the people of New York City,” the document reads. “These brave men and women of New York National Guard, who served and sacrificed on those days following this attack on our American soil, deserve continued recognition through the past 20 years.”
The New York Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, 1st Battalion, 101st Cavalry, 1st Battalion, 258th Infantry, 1st Battalion, 105th Infantry, the 107th Corps Support Group and the 2nd Civil Support Team were all recognized for their efforts as part of Operation Trade Center.
“It clearly lays out the duties and responsibilities to those over 12,000 National Guard men and women who answered the call that day and after to help to ensure our freedoms, both here at home and abroad,” Rogers added. “It honors not only them, but the five National Guardsmen lost that day and the 39 lost since in deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The recognition, Rogers said, comes with financial relief and access to benefits for those who were formerly not eligible, due to a lack of full veteran benefits for not being deployed after their service surrounding the attacks. The new legislation, Rogers estimates, helps thousands of veterans.