Thirteen years later: Remembering September 11

Michigan Minuteman Platoon honored the first responders of the 9/11 attack at remembrance ceremony held on campus.

Sam Schlenner

Glen Neville got the call at about 6 p.m.: Go to the Mackinac Bridge. Guard it.

He left the next morning.

It was September 11, 2001, and many soldiers were getting calls to defend national landmarks.

Neville, an Oakland University student majoring in graphic design, has eight years of active duty Army time. He served from 1985 to 2007.

That September morning he was working out in the basement after the third shift, watching the news when he saw the second plane hit.

Immediately, he was on the phone with his wife, telling her to pack her things and come home. She worked in the Renaissance Center in Detroit. She found it nearly impossible to get anywhere because of the surge of panic and the traffic jams.

It’s been 13 years and Neville, who is set to graduate in May, still remembers.

“Honor guard: Fall in.”

The Michigan Minuteman Platoon, VFW Post 1370, performed the Oakland University 9/11 remembrance ceremony Thursday.

“Ready, front. Ceremonial rest.”

The morning was cold. The ceremony was between North and South Foundation Halls.

OU student Tim Brown sang “Amazing Grace.”

“Honor guard. Atten-hut! Present, arms!”

OU student Fil Starostka played taps.

The platoon folded the flag and presented it to Bradley Reichelt, veteran liaison for Oakland University Veterans Support Services. There were about 40 people in attendance.

Thirteen years, and people everywhere remember.

Neville, who was trained in anti-terrorism, was busy with domestic assignments when he got the next call: Afghanistan. He was deployed March 2005.

For 16 months, Neville spent his time chasing an improvised explosive device (IED) team that was paying people to put down roadside bombs. The team had VHS tapes to show how to blow up a vehicle.

“They simplified it to the point where an 8-year-old kid could do it,” Neville said.

He spent 45 days chasing the team through a valley.

“I fell off of a mountain in the middle of a rainstorm, and that was pretty much the end of my military career.”

He said he is one the few people who can served with a sibling. He and his brother served closely in Afghanistan at the same time.

“We had to sign an agreement that if one of us was injured or killed, the other one had to go home.”

Neville decided to tough out the injuries after his fall, lest he be treated in Germany, listed as wounded, and have his brother sent home.

He did this for the remaining three months, and got back to Fort Benning, Ga. He finally got examined.

“They assessed all the damage to my spine and shoulder and everything and said, ‘You’re gone.’”

His brother was still in.

Because of the injuries from his fall, Neville is on a heavy regimen of medication.

“If I didn’t have this stuff, I probably wouldn’t get out of bed. It feels like somebody went at me with a hammer,” he said.

He has a picture of his weekly pill containers. They’re nearly filled. The yellow one is for daytime. The black one, nighttime. He said he’s only slept three or four hours a night since 2006.

Thirteen years.

He definitely remembers.