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    Texas Guardsmen march for fallen heroes

    Texans March for Fallen Heroes

    Photo By 1st Sgt. Daniel Griego | In this image, released by Joint Task Force 71, Texas Guardsmen and family members...... read more read more

    AUSTIN, Texas — “I will never forget that we are still losing lives during this time,” said Army Staff Sgt. David Mendiola. “And I want everyone else to remember that it’s not all about barbeques and drinking. Memorial day means much more to me.”

    Mendiola, the organizer for the Texas Military Forces March for Fallen Heroes, held annually on Memorial Day weekend, has been marching for his lost brethren for six years now. Each year, the weight of those losses impacts him deeply. He carries it through more than seven miles of downtown Austin, with a ruck sack on his back and the American flag in his hands.
    This year’s march, held May 26, continued the tradition of inviting Guardsmen, their families and patriots of all backgrounds to honor Memorial Day with somber reflection of those who have lost their lives in the global war on terror.

    “We’re doing a march for the fallen heroes,” said Sgt. 1st Class Melissa Bellman of the Army Guard Recruiting & Retention Battalion, “to remember those soldiers that have fallen before us, those that have lost their lives.”

    Bellman, who has participated in the event once before, understands the importance associated with the Memorial Day holiday.

    “It means a lot, as a soldier, as a service member, to remember those who have come before me.”

    Each year, the several dozen marchers assemble at the Rock Island rally point in Zilker Park. From there, they proceed to the state capitol and regroup at the 36th Infantry Division Monument on the west side of the building. The service members conduct a proper formation while State Guard Capt. Tim Clement plays taps.

    This year, the event included a mid-march addition, as Austin resident Jackie Wright joined the participants after seeing them during her morning walk.

    “I was actually out walking, getting some exercise,” said Wright, “and over the town lake bridge, I saw you guys. So I crossed the street and caught up.”

    Wright, whose husband served in the military years ago, has always felt a deep connection to soldiers and other service members.

    “I have such respect for the military,” she said. “This truly is for God and country and I really appreciate the military. I appreciate every person in the armed forces for all that they do for our country.”

    As long as he is able, Staff Sgt. Mendiola will continue to march each year for his fallen comrades, recognizing their ultimate sacrifices and honoring their memory.

    “I think it’s important that we remember what this holiday is about,” said Mendiola. “That it means a lot to us, as Americans, as soldiers.”



    Date Taken: 05.26.2012
    Date Posted: 06.08.2012 11:04
    Story ID: 89634
    Location: AUSTIN, TX, US 

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