Navy veteran salutes at Taylor intersection all day to honor 9/11 first responders, victims

John Heidenreich stands at intersection of Telegraph, Eureka roads in Taylor

TAYLOR, Mich. – For most United States residents, remembering the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, involves taking a few moments to reflect.

But a Romulus man is dedicating his entire day to honoring the first responders and victims from 9/11.

He's standing at the busy intersection of Telegraph and Eureka roads in Taylor.

"It's incredible," Navy veteran John Heidenreich said. "It's truly an honor. I feel really blessed. I'm calling it Operation Respect and Honor."

Heidenreich said he has a heavy heart each year on the anniversary of the attacks.

"As time goes on, people forget or they don't want to remember, so I'm out here to make them remember," Heidenreich said.

He set up flags and a Twin Towers art piece early Tuesday morning.

"I had to screw in the stakes in the back of the towers," Heidenreich said. "I had to iron the flags out."

He said it's the first time he's put on his Navy uniform since 1998.

"It's a special day," Heidenreich said. "I wanted to wear them."

Fellow veterans stopped to shake Heidenreich's hand and thank him. It was an emotional sight for Sandy Fera.

"They die," Fera said. "They fight for us. That's our freedom right there. That's it."

"I'm taking notes of everyone who walks by," Heidenreich said. "I want to remember their names, thank them."

He said he'll stand at the intersection until sunset.

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