Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

September 12, 2013

'Forever changed'

Student veteran at IUK organizes service to remember Sept. 11 attacks.

Doug Preece stood Wednesday under an American flag that waved gently in the breeze — a fitting place to reflect on a moment 12 years ago that forever changed the nation and his family.

As the IU Kokomo Student Veterans Organization president, Preece led a service at the campus’s flagpole to remember Sept. 11, 2001.About 30 people, including eight other veterans, circled around the flag with him to think, pray and reflect.“I think reflection is good for the soul,” he said. “It’s important for people to recognize what happened in the past and our nation’s contributions by veterans. That was a significant event in our history. Everyone can remember where they were on 9/11. For those of us who are involved, it resonates a little deeper.”Preece has been a reservist in the military for 26 years.He was at Grissom Air Reserve Base in 2001 when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City. He and his fellow servicemen and women sat staring at their televisions. They were stunned.“It was very spooky,” he said.There were airborne flights at the base that day that were called back to the ground. There were reservists who were commercial pilots by day. They got calls telling them to secure their cockpits. That’s when they knew something was terribly wrong.“That will be something they never forget,” Preece said. “It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.”Preece remembers predicting he would be deployed within 10 days of the attack. Nine days later, he was gone.Preece was a boom operator for the KC-135 Stratotankers. His job during that first deployment was to provide mid-air refueling for long-range bomber, fighter and cargo aircraft as they prepared to launch an attack on Iraq.“We were more than enthusiastic about it,” he said. “We had guys who couldn’t go who were pretty torn up about it.”Since then, Preece has been deployed to the Middle East at least seven times. He said he’s lucky, though, that his deployments are usually only two months long.It’s still hard on his family, he said. The goodbyes, the worries, the distance, it’s all tough for them, he said.And families across the country are still dealing with the deployments 12 years later.Families who lost someone during the attacks on the Twin Towers are still trying to cope.Those moments 12 years ago affected people across the world from every race and every walk of life, Preece said.“It has forever changed us,” he said.That’s why it’s important to remember this day every year, no matter how many years have passed, Preece said. It’s critical to remind children of what we lost that day and what we sacrificed to get it back, he said. If people don’t talk to kids about it, they’re going to forget.“A new generation is coming up,” he said. “My son was only 1 when it happened.”But he teaches his son often about the attacks and the aftermath. The now-13-year-old grasps the importance of it.“He understands at that young age,” Preece said. “He’s proud.”On Wednesday the child wore a camouflage T-shirt to school with a patch that said “Remember 9/11.” The message on that patch sums up what the short memorial service at IU Kokomo was about.Veterans, students and faculty said the Pledge of Allegiance. A U.S. Marine Corps chaplain said a short prayer.He prayed for those fighting a conflict they didn’t ask for. He prayed for those still recovering from the horrors of war.Interim Chancellor Sue Sciame-Giesecke spoke to those gathered. She had a simple message.She told people to hit the pause buttons on their lives.“We’re asked today to just stop, and to remember and to thank,” she said.

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NES plans kindergarten round-up Northwestern Elementary School is planning its kindergarten round-up for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. To qualify for kindergarten enrollment, a child must be 5 years old on or before Aug. 1. Parents must bring their child's birth certificate, immunizat

    April 19, 2014

  • NSC establishes number of transfers Northwestern School Corp. has decided how many transfer students the district can accept next school year in compliance with the state's relatively new open enrollment law. This is the first time Northwestern has announced vacancies at each grade lev

    April 19, 2014

  • Kokomo man heading to 'Hoosier Millionaire' finale Rick Rhodes is still having a hard time believing his good fortune. On Thursday, the 53-year-old Kokomo man walked away with $13,500 after beating out five other contestants on the “Hoosier Millionaire” live road show in Fort Wayne. “I’m still in sho

    April 18, 2014

  • Dual Credit classes KACC 02 Dual credits give high school students head start on college More area students are enrolling in dual credit classes as a way to get an early start on their college degrees and prepare for the rigor of higher education while still in high school. In the past five years, the number of college credits earned by

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Email, Internet knocked out at Miami Co. Courthouse PERU -- Basic government services were put on hold for the second time in nearly two months in Miami County after a massive server failure once again knocked out Internet and email access in most departments and offices. The crash hit early last week

    April 18, 2014

  • Early voting underway in Miami Co. PERU -- Miami County officials are reminding residents that early voting is now open for the primary election. Early voting started April 8 and will end May 5, one day before Election Day. Early voting is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday at t

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson Street Commons veterans home grand opening set for May 22 Jackson Street Commons, a home for veterans near downtown Kokomo, will host a grand opening May 22. The new $3.6 million facility, located at 322 E. Jackson St., provides permanent housing to 27 previously homeless veterans, said Judy Dennis, executi

    April 18, 2014

  • YMCA nearing design phase completion Development and design of the new 73,000 square foot YMCA should be completed in the next 30 days, YMCA of Kokomo Executive Director David Dubois told the Kokomo Common Council Monday. Dubois said he hopes to begin construction on the new facility by

    April 18, 2014

  • NHS, PJHS named four-star schools Northwestern High School and Peru Jr. High School have found their place among the top schools in the state, with the Indiana Department of Education recognizing them as four-star schools Tuesday. A total of 311 elementary, middle and high schools we

    April 18, 2014

  • NWS-PT041614 Flora Doc1.jpg [Duplicate] The doctor is still in after health group's departure FLORA -- The safe at a downtown bank building, once used for protecting cash and valuables, is now stocked with medical supplies. The former bank office on East Main Street became Flora Family Medicine last month after it was made possible for one lo

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries