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George W. Bush sends message to veterans

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A message sent from former President George W. Bush will be presented to area veterans who will attend a special veterans luncheon on Saturday at the National Guard Readiness Center in Connellsville Township.

The special luncheon, sponsored by the CAHS Patriots, will be followed by a dedication at the Connellsville Area Senior High School of the World Trade Center Memorial. At that event, a Connellsville Area High School graduate who is a New York City police officer, will be a principal speaker.

The ceremonies are limited to those who are registered, according to Linda Shearer, founder and sponsor of the CAHS Patriots.

She said all 225 places are taken.

In addition to a message from the former president, veterans attending the 11 a.m. luncheon will hear remarks from guest speaker LTC Shane Ousey who, as a major in 2004, was instrumental in getting a Fox documentary team into a volatile area in Iraq for a Christmas special.

The dedication of the memorial at the high school lobby will immediately follow the luncheon. The memorial features a piece of the structure of the North Tower of the World Trade Centers, recovered from the rubble following the collapse of the building on Sept. 11, 2001.

Marybeth Bradley, who is now a New York City police officer, was a member of the CAHS Patriots. She is returning for the ceremony and will offer remarks.

The program will also feature a prayer, a memorial statement by Jimmy Roach, and a selection by a local musician, “Where were You when the World Stopped Turning.”

Shearer acquired the piece of steel from the World Trade Center in 2011. In early February 2011, representatives from the school district traveled to New York City to bring home the 4-ton piece of steel from the World Trade Center that collapsed after a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

The piece is now on display at the school after remaining in storage for a year.

In 2010, Shearer contacted the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on behalf of the CAHS Patriots when she learned the authority was providing pieces of the World Trade Center to organizations that wanted to put them on display.

Shearer's request was one of more than 1,000 from every state and six foreign countries.

The steel carries the serial number I-0029, measures 180 inches by 66 inches by 8 inches and weighs 8,370 pounds.

The artifact was transported from a hangar at JFK Airport to Connellsville, where the community came out to see the steel make its way through town and around the school.

In November 2012, crews moved the artifact to what was to be the foyer of the high school's auditorium.

Saturday's veterans program and the acquisition of the World Trade Center artifact are just two of CAHS Patriots' many accomplishments, with community support.

CAHS Patriots continue sending care packages to soldiers overseas and participating in the Wreaths Across America program. The organization also helped to erect a monument for CAHS graduates who died in service.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

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