Gold Star Families honored at Memorial Day ceremony
May 28, 2014
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- When Pfc. Kevin Luna was killed in Iraq in 2005, his wife, Stephanie, stayed in Bavaria.
"I have my family and friends in the area, so at first it wasn't so much about the military," she said. "But, every time I drove on post in Vilseck, it was a good feeling."
Stephanie eventually found a job at the dental clinic and remains part of the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria community.
"It just feels good being back on Rose Barracks where we started dating," she said.
During the Memorial Day ceremony on May 22, the garrison honored Kevin along with two other fallen Soldiers with families in the community: Spc. Brian Bowman and Staff Sgt. Heathe Nathanniel Craig.
Speaking to a crowd of Veterans of Foreign Wars and community members and Gold Star Families, USAG Bavaria Commander Col. James Saenz, beseeched the audience to remember the Soldiers who died fighting in places such as Valley Forge, Bastogne, Ia Drang Valley and Fallujah.
Saenz recalled the heroism of the local Soldiers, thanking their families for their sacrifice.
"Today, we recall three particular Soldiers who fell in other faraway places. They, too, sought to bring stability and security to those most in need. For them, it was in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Saenz.
"Going into harm's way, they knew they were fighting for a cause greater than themselves. Their unwavering devotion inspires all of us; they are the best of who we are," he added.
The recognition allowed Stephanie to feel even more that Kevin will remain in the garrison's collective memory.
"I refuse to say 'not forgotten,' because 'not' and 'forgotten' are negative," she said.
"I'm thankful that he was there. I'm not just sad that he left, but happy that I got to meet him. I like to say that I met my guardian angel."