PARKER, Fla. (WMBB) — This year’s Warrior Beach Retreat carries a lot of significance with the war in Afghanistan coming to a close and the 20th anniversary of 9/11 being days away.
United States Air Force Staff Sergeant, Rory Schlosberg, said he remembers watching the events of 9/11 on TV in his high school classroom and that’s when he decided to enlist.
He and his wife, Stephanie, said they are grateful to have the relaxing week and were blown away by the amount of support they saw at Thursday’s parade.
Schlosberg and his wife said they were overcome with emotion during the parade.
“Lot’s of tears were had during the parade,” Stephanie said. “Yes, very much so,” Schlosberg said. “I didn’t expect to get that overwhelmed and get that emotional but it kind of kicked in about five minutes in.”
Schlosberg said the support from the Bay County community is overwhelming — but in a good way.
“The parade really got to me,” Schlosberg said. “Just seeing how much they support us and things like that — like I said, I’m not used to that.”
This year’s Warrior Beach Retreat also comes on the heels of the Afghan troop withdrawal. Schlosberg said he wishes the mission overseas had been handled differently.
“It’s really upsetting,” Schlosberg said. “It angers me, it upsets me, I don’t understand why we went about it the way we did. I don’t agree with how it happened. I’m thankful that everyone is slowly getting out and getting home, but we still have people there that need to come home and they deserve to be back in the United States.”
Schlosberg’s wife compared it to another incident in 2012.
“It’s very reminiscent of another incident that happened overseas coincidentally the same time in Benghazi,” Stephanie said. “We’re just hoping this doesn’t swept under the rug like Benghazi did and every body in five years brushes it away because this is not okay anymore. It’s not okay. Enough is enough.”
Schlosberg and his wife said they want everyone to remember September 11 and adds Thursday’s parade felt a lot like September 12 — the day where everyone was an American.
The way our country came together as one there was no hate, no anger, no one hated each other we loved each other,” Schlosberg said. “Everyone was American. It didn’t matter what country you came from at that point you were — everyone was an American.”
There are several events happening around the Panhandle this weekend to honor and remember the September 11 attacks. For more information on those ceremonies, click here.