HARKER HEIGHTS — Capt. Barry Farmer lost friends in combat during his 15 years of military service.

While he looks forward to spending time with family and friends this holiday weekend, the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, soldier started Saturday honoring a fallen comrade in arms during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Harker Heights Recreation Center.

“His memory, it sill remains,” said Farmer, of a friend who died in Iraq in 2003 as a result of an improvised explosive device. “(This event) is just making sure everyone, especially my kids, understand what (Memorial Day) means.”

Although the parade leading up to the ceremony was rained out, residents still gathered to reflect upon the significance of Memorial Day.

“Our presence here today remembers over a million of our fellow citizens who have given their last breath defending this nation,” said Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters Jr., commander of the 13th Sustainment Command and guest speaker at the event. “This is a time of renewal and a time of strength after a winter of loss and silence. Flowers bloom and everywhere you look, you see life, growth and new beginnings.”

Mayor Mike Aycock honored the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“Freedom is not free,” he said. “Without these people we wouldn’t have the freedom we have today.”

LeMasters said the soldiers’ selfless service and sacrifice ensure that American values and beliefs will stay alive for many generations.

He also honored the family members who must live with the loss of their fallen soldier daily.

“To the (family and friends) who carry on each day with pictures on the mantel and mementos of a life not fully lived ... we will not forget (your soldier) and we will not let others forget you,” LeMasters said.

Contact Sarah Rafique at srafique@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SarahRafique

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