Tree Dedication Honors Fallen Soldiers
June 20, 2008
FORT STEWART, GA -- Three fallen 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers were remembered at the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield tree dedication ceremony, June 12 at Warrior's Walk.
Lt. Col. Haron Triplett, 3rd Infantry Division chaplain referred to the 411 Eastern Redbud Trees planted in the sacred grove and explained that they were not merely trees, rather, the living monument to heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the liberties of others.
The ceremony was held on a hot and balmy morning, but more than 200 community members came from on and off-post to pay their respects.
Honored were Pvt. Ronald R. Harison, Co. E, 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team; Spc. Mary Jane Jaenichen, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion; and Spc. Kyle P. Norris, Co. A, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment.
Kathleen Mills shared a poem she wrote in memory to the Soldiers represented at Warrior's Walk.
On my honor, we will stand at the place where you rest and remember you.
On my honor, we will pick up the torch of freedom and carry it for you.
On my honor, you will not be a silent memory.
We will speak of you often so the world will know what you've done.
On my honor, as you reach the gates of heaven you will hear the voices of a grateful nation rise up and we will, honor you."
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, 3rd Inf. Div. commanding general, recently returned from a 15-month tour in Iraq and was on hand to address those in attendance. He shared a special insight of the lives of the fallen heroes, gathered from Family, friends, co-workers, and people who knew the heroes.
Lynch said Warrior walk was a magnificent yet humbling place to remember such fine Soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice while answering the nation's call to duty. He spoke of the pride and professionalism, determination and individual character of Harrison, Jaenichen, and Norris, and the regard their Families, friends, and fellow Soldiers held for them.
"When I attended memorial services for our fallen heroes while deployed, I was always impressed with the strength and resolve of the Soldiers under my command," Lynch said. "They would attend memorial services and remember their comrades in arms, speak fondly of their battle buddies, show emotion, then put on their battle armor and go back out on patrol. They and the Soldiers that they eulogize are all heroes - Heroes who deserve to never be forgotten."
Lynch said they wouldn't, noting that as people young and old walk through Warrior's Walk, they would read the names and remember the courage, commitment, and sacrifice these Soldiers made to keep this nation free.
"We are indebted to these three Soldiers, and their brothers and sisters beside them here at Warrior's Walk, and we will not forget. We will always honor our Soldier's who make the ultimate sacrifice."
Pvt. Ronald R. Harrison
Harrison, 25, of Morris Plains, N.J., was a Bradley fighting vehicle mechanic. He was a Soldier who embraced loyalty and duty. He was a responsible, humorous and kind person. He always tried to do what was good for his friends and Family.
Harrison was a peacemaker, who while in high school would often step into a fight, and diffuse situations.
That sense of doing what was right served him well when he joined the Army. He was planning on making the military his career then one day move back to Texas with his Family to work as a mechanic. Harrison died April 22 at Forward Operating Base Falcon near Baghdad, Iraq.
Spc. Mary J. Jaenichen
Jaenichen, 20, of Temecula, Calif., was a Soldier who knew the meaning of duty and respect. Her interest in the Army began in high school, where she was a junior ROTC cadet all four years at El Camino high school in Oceanside, Calif. There she was a cheerful and supportive person with a great since of humor. She was always cheering up her classmates when they were down.
As a Soldier, she would often come back and talk to those Junior ROTC classes. She was a caring person who enjoyed reaching back to those who help her achieve her goals. Jaenichen died May 9 in Iskandariyah, Iraq.
Pfc. Kyle P. Norris
Norris, 22, of Zanesville, Ohio, embraced honor and duty. He joined the Army because he wanted to protect the two things he loved most in life, his country and his Family. He loved being a Soldier and was great at the job. He was devoted to mission accomplishment and worked hard to ensure that whatever job he and his fellow Soldiers were given, was accomplished to standard. He was devoted to his friends and Family, talking to his Family as often as he could, sharing news and stories.
Norris died May 23 in Balad, Iraq from wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device during a patrol, May 22 in Jurf as Sakhr, Iraq.