On Monday, September 11, Several members of VFW Post 8870 attended the annual “Never Forget” observance at the 9/11 Memorial next to the downtown fire stations.
Among those who spoke at the event was Post 8870 member & USMC Veteran Michael Reagan who recalled a private meeting he and a fellow Marine had with President George W. Bush and First lady Laura Bush in February 2002 to present portraits Reagan had drawn of the two:
“The President of the United States walked up to me … looks at me in the face and he says, ‘They just killed 3,000 of our people and I am very angry.’ He was crying … the president of the United States. All I could think in the back of my head was, ‘Something’ s gonna change,’ and it has.”
A year later, Reagan started the Fallen Heroes Project, a nonprofit that commemorates people who died during 9/11 and the War on Terror, including information on their military service (if applicable) and their personal lives. Since then, he has drawn more than 9,000 portraits, mostly of soldiers, police officers and firefighters who had died in service to our country.
“9/11 means a lot to me,” Reagan said. “I walk by here every day, doesn’t matter what time of the day, and I stand here and think about all the people I’ve worked with. I love the firemen. I love the policemen. Everybody in Edmonds knows that. Because 9/11 changed this place. We’re here to honor you and the memory of a lot of firefighters who are no longer with us. I’m here to just do this project. Nothing else should matter on 9/11, other than 9/11.”