• August 23, 2014

Memorial Day reminds us of duty to honor the fallen

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Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013 4:30 am

Part of Monday’s Memorial Day observance at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery will be the dedication of a new stone in the Central Texas Fallen Heroes memorial.

Every year since it was dedicated in May 2007, the memorial has added a stone honoring the service members who have given their lives in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These polished black granite markers — each representing a calendar year, or two combined years — bear the names and likenesses of these fallen heroes from Fort Hood and Central Texas, a permanent reminder of their sacrifice.

In years past, the stones — dating back to when combat operations began in 2002 — have carried the names of dozens of fallen heroes. The stone dedicated in 2008 bore 60 names and likenesses; in 2009, the new stone had 34. Last year, the memorial added 43 names, representing the Central Texas heroes who had fallen in 2010 and 2011, plus a name from 2006.

Just six names and likenesses are on the new stone that will be dedicated Monday, representing the six Central Texas service members who lost their lives in 2012.

With U.S. military involvement in Iraq ended and operations in Afghanistan winding down, we can only hope and pray that next year, the number of new names will be even lower. Indeed, Patrick Turck, president of the Central Texas Fallen Heroes Association, said Friday that no Central Texas soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan so far in 2013.

Still, the six names on the new stone are a reminder that our service members remain in harm’s way, still putting their lives on the line for our nation.

And, of course, these names represent individuals who are forever lost to their families, their friends and their communities — as do the more than 600 names that comprise the memorial.

That poignant reality is brought home through the memorial’s inclusion of their accompanying likenesses, framed by stark, black granite.

Monday’s cemetery observance, along with countless others around the area this holiday weekend, will feature the playing of taps, inspirational speeches, the laying of wreaths and 21-gun salutes — all appropriate ways to honor and respect those who gave their lives in service to their country.

These solemn observances serve as a reminder that we must never take for granted the price paid by our fallen service members on our behalf — from those who served in World War II to those who saw duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is because of their service and sacrifice that we continue to enjoy the rights and freedoms our nation embodies, and that we hold so dear.

In the midst of our holiday activities, we have an obligation to pause, reflect and remember all those who selflessly gave their lives on our nation’s behalf.

On Memorial Day, and every day, it is our duty as Americans to honor our fallen heroes.

They have earned our heartfelt thanks, and they deserve no less.

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1 comment:

  • Eliza posted at 2:59 pm on Sun, May 26, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 712

    Reading the editorial and always especially this 'holiday' makes me go back in time in my mind, and
    remember how I was taught to honor and respect our military members, by my big brother, and especially those, who have been chosen to die for their country.

    We owe a lot to the people who have been wiling to serve the country and who have given up so much to do so,

    The members of the 75th Regt. Association ,a group which these first 3 men were apart of ,have kept their names alive even though they no longer are.

    The ones who have known these men want their names to be known.
    So others will always know they were here at one time.
    And they had died in service to their country.
    It was an Honor to have known them for all who know their names.

    Richard Babb Died from wounds received in action 1/1/70

    Kenneth Harjo (American Indian) KIA 11/18/69

    Arthur Tomaschek KIA in crash caused by hostile fire 9/1/71

    All had served together as LRRP's/Rangers Co F 75th Inf 25th ID


    Harry Carver 15th Combat Engineers,9th INF Div.
    Date of Casualty: 4/10/1968

    Harry was on a patrol boat when it was ambushed - He received fire and was last seem going over the side of the boat- His body has not been recovered.
    He is considered one of the MIA's
    He has a Stone of Honor in the Nat. Cemetery in his home town.
    The people who have known of Harry have never forgotten him