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9/11 at Monument: 'They helped everybody like my dad did'

By: CAROL MCGRAW
September 12, 2012
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photo - St. Peter Catholic School students, left to right, Maddie Mochaoin, Peyton Bock, Katherine Derdzinski and Elizabeth Brodeur prepare to post the colors during a ceremony at the school Tuesday, September 11, 2012, in remembrance of those who died on 9-11 and in honor of first responders and those who serve in the military. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette Photo by
St. Peter Catholic School students, left to right, Maddie Mochaoin, Peyton Bock, Katherine Derdzinski and Elizabeth Brodeur prepare to post the colors during a ceremony at the school Tuesday, September 11, 2012, in remembrance of those who died on 9-11 and in honor of first responders and those who serve in the military. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette Photo by  

They sat yards apart in the gym at St. Peter Catholic School in Monument: the old soldier in dress blues draped with campaign ribbons and the boy in a crisp school uniform, inexorably linked by profound memories of sacrifice.

Five-year-old David Brodeur Jr., in the audience with his sister at their school’s Sept. 11 commemoration, pointed to a large construction paper flag adorned with classmates’ handprints. “I made the stars,” he said proudly. Then, his brown eyes turned somber. “It makes me sad because my dad was killed.”

His father, Air Force Major David L. Brodeur, was one of eight military men gunned down in Kabul by an Afghan security trainee April 27, 2011.

The boy had recently shown his kindergarten class a photo of his father standing in front of a jet. And now, at this “Past, Present and Future”-themed event, he saw military personnel, first responders and Air Force cadet guests sitting beneath the paper flag he helped create. He said, yes, he knew why all these people were being honored here on this day. “They helped everybody like my dad did.”

One honoree was 92-year-old Bill Jones, a retired Army colonel who fought in World War II in China, Burma and India with comrades almost all gone now. “It brings back the memories,” he said simply, holding the hand of his wife, Ethel, who was an Army nurse in India, where they met.

But Jones’ memories don’t stop there. He was a fireman in New York City after World War II. Much later, he watched, with millions of others, when the twin towers fell.

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