USASOC honors SOF Soldiers with ceremony
May 28, 2013
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Family, friends and Soldiers throughout the Army Special Operations Forces community gathered to pay tribute to their fallen sons, brothers, and spouses during the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Fallen Soldiers Memorial Ceremony, May 23.
"Today's Memorial Wall Ceremony is a tribute to the sacrifice of our fallen Heroes and an occasion to embrace forever, their families," said Lt. Gen. Cleveland as the rain began to fall.
Being honored here today are the names of 19 heroes that have made the ultimate sacrifice defending the freedoms of our Nation as well as the freedoms of other countries that have been oppressed.
"We are a Nation whose character was formed by their sweat, scars, and blood, and that of the other 1,151 other souls on this wall," Cleveland somberly explained.
The tradition of memorializing and honoring the fallen heroes is a tradition that spans back over 2,400 years ago in the time of Ancient Athens. The tradition of honoring fallen Soldier's families continues to this day as well.
"We do commit to you - our Gold Star Families - that we will remain with you," Cleveland stated, "Though the faces in the ranks change, the units in which your loved ones faithfully and honorably served will forevermore be your touch point with them, and those who served before, during, and after."
Cleveland said during his speech that in 1864, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to Mrs. Bixby, a woman who had lost five sons to the war. In the letter he said, "I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."
"Yours too, should be the solemn pride, for the sacrifices made," Cleveland added," Our fallen were Special Operations Warriors, Soldiers of whom much is asked because of who they were. So long as citizens such as these step forward, to draw that line which will not be crossed, to bear the Liberty's necessary and heavy burden, our Nation and what it stands for shall prevail."
During his speech, Cleveland also reiterated the importance that we never forget the sacrifices that was made on behalf of all Americans.
"While their names will be forever inscribed on this wall, who they are will live on in the memories we carry in our hearts, and in the stories that bind us as Soldiers, young and old," said Cleveland, "We will remember through children named after fallen friends, stones laid in their honor, building and street names, books written, tattoos inked, and ribbons and pins worn. We will remember through their children and help them grow and incompletely fill the void left."
At the end of the ceremony, the families and friends of the fallen warriors made their way towards the USASOC Memorial Wall to view the names of their family member and remember what they were fighting for.
As Cleveland paid thanks to those who had come to the Ceremony to honor the fallen heroes he stated, "May their memories live on forever and may our country forever be inspired by their sacrifice... We will not forget you."