The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Cicero American Legion Post 341 historian and U.S. Army veteran Russell Ross talks about the importance of commemorating 9/11 as well as why it’s important for him to be a member of the Cicero American Legion.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Cicero American Legion Post 341 historian and U.S. Army veteran Russell Ross talks about the importance of commemorating 9/11 as well as why it’s important for him to be a member of the Cicero American Legion.
On Friday morning, Cicero American Legion Post 341 historian and U.S. Army veteran Russell Ross stood at attention as he listened to fellow Legion member Tye Anderson play taps on his bugle to remember 9/11 on the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
The 9/11 is shorthand for the four terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda, an Islamic extremist group, on Sept. 11, 2001.
As a tribute to all of the victims of 9/11, Anderson played taps in front of the Legion Post at 9:59 a.m. Friday.
Just a day earlier, Legion members and volunteers put out large American flags to line both sides of Jackson Street Bridge over Morse Reservoir in Cicero, from Red Bridge Park through downtown Cicero. Whether you were driving across the bridge, viewing the flags from Red Bridge Park or the Boathouse Kitchen and Swan Dive or floating on the water in the Morse Reservoir Trump Boat Rally on Sunday, the display of flags was beautiful all weekend.
“I know that a lot of people love seeing these flags flying across the lake. It’s really a beautiful site,” he said.
Legion members took down the flags on Monday evening.
And while the Legion’s 9/11 tribute was very brief, I am told the tribute would likely be larger in 2021.
This year was the first year for the tribute, said Anderson, 51, Cicero, who put the program together just hours beforehand. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “We should have been doing this all along.” Anderson, who served in the U.S. Army 1989-93 in Desert Storm, plays bugle with the Legion’s honor guard for funerals.
Ross, 61, who stood saluting Anderson during the tribute, served in the U.S. Army and the National Guard from 1977 to 1983 and shortly after joined the Cicero Legion in 1991. “I’ve been an active member ever since.”
He said, “My family has been members of this post. They were 50-plus year members, my mom and dad both, which kind of piqued my interest in why I’m a part of it. I just like following in their footsteps.”
He has 27 years as an active member of the Legion and 38 years in Sons of the American Legion. Dual members are welcome. “We welcome anybody who would like to come and be a part of our post,” he said.
This year’s membership dinner is 5 p.m. Sept. 26 at the post, 50 S. Washington St., in Cicero. “Just show up,” he said. Social hour is 5 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m. “It’s not an elaborate affair,” he said.
“Now, the new rules for the Legion is it’s open to anybody who served with an honorable discharge,” Ross said. “It used to be you had to be a wartime period.”
Men who didn’t serve in the military may now be a part of the Cicero American Legion Auxiliary, which has dropped the “Ladies” name from the Auxiliary and is open to both men and women, he said.
While he isn’t a motorcycle rider, he enjoys having the Cicero Legion Riders, numbering around 80, participate in post activities. “They are a very active group,” he said.
He said a lot of times, veterans don’t join the Legion until they are retired and have more time. “I wish there were more young people,” he said.
Ross remembers going to the Cicero American Legion as early as age 7, attending the activities with his parents, who were both members, and playing the jukebox that sat in the corner.
Ross lives in Cicero and always has enjoyed being the historian at the post. A Korean War veteran, and just as soon as he got out of the military, he joined the Cicero American Legion Post in the mid 1950s.
He joined the Army and the Legion Post to follow in his dad’s footsteps, and also joined the Legion to do so, too. Ross, who at age 4, along with his brother and sister, were adopted by the only dad he ever knew, after Claude Ross married his mother, Judy, who was a single mom. “It was a huge thing to have somebody step into our lives and raise us,” he said.
His dad worked at a Delco Remy and she was a waitress at a local restaurant. And he happened to walk in and they met,” he said. His mom spent 50 years in the Auxiliary, holding every position many times. “I’ve got a lot of sense of pride to be a part of this post,” he said.
“Now that I’m 61 years old, I’m among senior members, so a lot of people do come up to me to ask me questions about our history,” he said. “I maintain several records to keep that memory alive. I made the upstairs into a history room. It’s unfortunate that very few people go upstairs to see it, but it’s there.”
He said on Sept. 11, 2001, he was at home. “I was up in the morning like always, drinking a cup of coffee and the TV was on. That’s when I saw that plane go into the first tower and my mouth just dropped. So I watched the whole ordeal from there … To see those people jumping out of the building, and the building coming down, I still can’t imagine the pain the families have gone through through the years. That’s one of the things our A.ary events and important events like 9/11.”
The Legion built a War Memorial at Red Bridge Park. You can go out there and sit down and reflect about things. It’s open to the public. In fact, we hope to have our 20-year anniversary (in 2021) of this event. We hope to have a bigger event next year.”
Ross said the Cicero Legion will celebrate its 100th birthday in June 2021. “I’m sure we’ll have some special event to celebrate that.”

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was at work at my desk at The Noblesville Ledger office in Fishers, watching the tragic news on our newsroom’s television. I had tickets for Verizon Wireless Music Center for that evening’s Jimmy Buffett concert, which was postponed due to the 9/11 attacks. Also, that day, I spent a portion of it following the story of rumors of a gasoline shortage that caused panic fuel buying with motorists rushing to fill their tanks, and prices skyrocketing in Hamilton County for the day to more than $5 a gallon.