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    An IRONHORSE Memorial Day

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- This Memorial Day weekend was unlike any other. With many parades and concerts canceled and others choosing to livestream events in order to maintain social distancing guidelines. Your typical large gatherings of families, friends and familiar faces were reduced to no more than a handful people to limit the spread of COVID-19.

    But is Memorial Day about parades, concerts and large family gatherings; or is this day about something more?

    “Memorial Day is not about barbeques and parades, although those things add to the celebration. Memorial Day is about making sure the men and women, my fellow brothers and sisters who gave their lives are remembered, celebrated and never forgotten,” said 1st Squadron 7th Cavalry Regiment “GARRYOWEN” Commander Lt. Col. Richard Groen.

    “GARRYOWEN” hosted the rededication of the 4th Infantry Division memorial to ensure that every man and woman who gave their life in defense of our nation was remembered and their legacy here on Fort Hood is never forgotten.

    “We have three things that we do. We nurture the living, we care for the wounded and we honor the fallen,” said “GARRYOWEN” Chaplain William Beaver.

    The 4th Infantry Division rededicated the memorial before leaving Fort Hood for Fort Carson, Colorado for the final time 11 years ago.

    “Always remember this – some are content to simply enjoy the freedoms of this great country – others choose to protect that freedom,” said Maj. Gen, now retired, Jeffery Hammond during his time as Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division.

    Former 4th Infantry Division, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Executive Officer Josh Illian was in attendance for the rededication ceremony. Illian was among those who helped erect the memorial in Tikrit, Iraq and facilitate its movement from Iraq to Fort Hood in 2004.
    “It’s precious, it blew me away to see the GARRYOWEN and IRONHORSE family step-up and take care of this monument to our fallen,” Illian said.

    The memorial, created by an Iraqi sculptor from melted down pieces of statues he was forced to sculpt for former dictator Saddam Hussein, remembers over 450 Servicemembers and Civilians, collectively, who gave their life for our nation.

    “Most of these young Troopers, they haven’t seen combat, I hope to God they don’t see combat but you have to be prepared like we’re going,” added Chaplain Beaver. “So this is a good education for them. I told these young Troopers to go look at the names, these are our brothers and sisters in arms. They left from Fort Hood and they never returned alive to Fort Hood.”

    “GARRYOWEN” adopted and took over the maintenance of the memorial early this year. “GARRYOWEN” Troopers volunteered to help with the upkeep as well as the raising and lowering of the nation’s flag on site every morning and evening; the Troopers gladly supported the honor.

    “I’ve been in the military for seven years, when I first came into the Army I didn’t know anything,” said Sgt. Carderius Saine, a Bravo Troop, Dismount Team Leader. “Learning the history and heritage that the Army protects, made it an easy decision for me to come and make sure the home of my fallen brothers and sisters was a perfect reflection of their sacrifice” he added.

    “GARRYOWEN” rededicated the memorial in the midst of this ongoing pandemic to remind the local Fort Hood community and the nation that even though we are going through a terrible time, it’s the traditions and legacy of the U.S. Army that will never be forgotten.

    “It’s really hard to not have as many people attend in person as we wanted,” said “IRONHORSE” Commander Col. Michael Schoenfeldt. “We wanted to make sure this day was marked not by COVID-19 but by the sacrifice and honoring of our nation's best heroes. The entire IRONHORSE family understands the significance and impact these fallen Troops had and we, as a family, wanted to make sure they were represented this Memorial Day as the heroes they will always be.”



    Date Taken: 05.25.2020
    Date Posted: 05.26.2020 14:40
    Story ID: 370773
    Location: FORT HOOD, US 

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