St. James American Legion Post 543 and others mark September 11 with ceremonies of remembrance.
On September 11, 2020 at 9:59 am, St. James American Legion Post 543 and the St. James Fire Department paused to remember the thousands killed and nearly 6,000 injured in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Post 543 Commander George Freeman noted that 9/11 holds special meaning for the Post, which proudly carries the name of Richard H. Stewart, Jr. Richie, as he was known to his family and friends, was working on the 104th floor of the north tower when smoke filled his office. At 10:28 am, the building collapsed, taking him and 650 employees of Cantor Fitzgerald employees with it. Richie is interred in nearby Cape Fear Memorial Cemetery on N.C. Highway 211 in Southport.
Also speaking at the ceremony at the St. James Fire Station #1 was President of the St. James Fire Department Board of Directors Don McGuire and Fire Chief John Dahill. Post 543 Chaplain Tom Bednarczyk offered opening and closing prayers, and Kirk Davis commanded the honor guard. Post 543 Bugler Ray Clemens played taps, while bagpiper and Post member Dennis Ryan offered several traditional medleys accompanied by two members of the Wilmington Police Pipes & Drum Band for “Amazing Grace.”
Following the ceremony, a motorized parade of fire apparatus, ambulances and cars carrying Post members wound its way through Arbor Creek and St. James in solemn procession. Residents lined the streets holding American flags and saluted the procession.
Photography by A. Doc Liberty