News: Division West honors nation's fallen heroes
By Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas – First Army Division West held a Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony at the 4th Infantry Division Memorial here Wednesday, followed by a “Run to Remember” the next morning.
“I am honored by having the opportunity to address you this morning to pay tribute to those brave men and women who have given their lives in defense of our nation,” said Maj. Gen. Warren E. Phipps Jr., Division West commanding general. “As Abraham Lincoln once proclaimed, ‘Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.’”
It has been five years since the 4th Infantry Division cased its colors on Cameron Field. Left on the grounds is the “Ivy” Division’s memorial, dedicated and rededicated to honor those who fell in battle under 4th Infantry’s Task Force Iron Horse.
“The significance of today’s ceremony is to remember those who paid the ultimate price for our liberties,” said Division West’s chaplain, Lt. Col. Kenneth Sorenson. “There’s no greater legacy to leave, then to lay down your life for others.”
Phipps spoke of a particular responsibility to pay respects to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines memorialized on the DIVWEST’s own grounds – the men and women honored on the 4th ID memorial.
“It is a personal matter for us to renew our commitment – to renew our involvement in preserving a heritage that honors our dead,” said Phipps. “Today stands as that reminder that ‘freedom is not free.’”
In conjunction with the Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony, five DIVWEST outlying brigades held their own events on their respective posts at Fort Bliss, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, before one of the nation’s most-celebrated holiday weekends.
“I want to thank you for allowing me the honor of leading this morning’s run,” said 120th Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Timothy Bush. “Amid the well-deserved celebrations of this weekend, don’t allow yourself to be blinded to the essence of this weekend. It is about memorializing the selfless service of our predecessors, remembering their sacrifice.”
With a more than decade-long conflict behind the nation, DIVWEST and its brigades will participate in various engagements around the command. Units will visit veterans' homes and participate in ceremonies at veteran cemeteries. Soldiers and leaders are taking the time to pay respects and homage to the fallen that paved the way for today’s modern military.
“Embrace your Soldier and do not take them for granted,” said Leslie Love, wife of Col. James Love, III Corps and Fort Hood chief of staff. “Love every second of being with them because you never know when or if they will be called to war.”