News: 36th Engineer Brigade honors the life of a fallen soldier
Story by Spc. Bradley Wancour
FORT HOOD, Texas - Facing death in combat is something all soldiers must be prepared to deal with in their career, but there is no greater tragedy than to lose a good soldier while at home.
The 36th Engineer Brigade held a memorial ceremony for Spc. Joseph Edward McDonald, combat engineer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 36th Eng. Bde., who died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
“When we, as soldiers, deploy to combat, we understand and accept the fact that we may pay the ultimate price in defense of our Constitution and our way of life,” said Capt. Peter White, HHC commander, 36th Eng. Bde. “But, when death strikes from out of nowhere against a responsible Soldier, thousands of miles away from combat, it leaves us asking, ‘Why here, why now?’”
White said there is not one single answer to that question and soldiers, friends and family need to search out an answer on their own.
“As we search for the answer, I challenge the soldiers in this company to come together and grieve, and let this (tragedy) recommit us to treasure the time we have together, to get to know each other better, and to look out for each other better,” he said.
White then focused on McDonald, sharing his thoughts on the fallen warrior.
“(He was) a proud, confident, rugged soldier, full of life and fun, but always on task, always eager to help our company succeed,” White said. “He never failed to execute any task that I had for him.”
Other members of the unit spoke about McDonald, as well, including Sgt. Maurice Reid, HHC’s training room noncommissioned officer and McDonald’s direct supervisor.
“My memories of him will be of laughter and of joy, courage, strength, good morals and honesty,” he said.
Reid spoke directly to McDonald’s Family, passing on his love and support to them.
“Joseph (McDonald) would want me to mention how much he loved and adored his wife, Ashley,” Reid said. “There is no doubt in my heart that if he were here today, he would want me to tell you that he loves you, Ashley. If it weren’t for your patience with I'm, and for your love and support, he would not have made it as far as he did.”
After addressing the McDonald family, Reid turned his attention to all soldiers and civilians that filled the room.
“Now I say to all in attendance and those here in spirit; if only there were words that could sooth the pain from which your sorrows brew, I would, with precise annunciation, speak those words to you now,” said Reid.