Families, friends remember the lives of the fallen
October 24, 2007
FORT HOOD, Texas - Families and friends from across the nation gathered in the 1st Cavalry Division Memorial Chapel her to say their final farewells to their fallen heroes Oct. 18.
Following opening remarks and the invocation from Chap. (Maj.) Paul E. Dirksmeyer, the 1st Cavalry Division Rear Detachment chaplain, Lt. Col. Archie Davis, the detachment's deputy commander, welcomed all guests to this month's memorial.
"We gather today not only to mourn the loss of our fallen brothers and sisters in arms, but to also honor and celebrate the lives in which these great Americans lived," Davis said as began his remarks. "We gather to comfort each other, and to be inspired by the example these warriors have left for us all."
Davis quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt, who he said aptly described the character of the American warrior.
"'The creed of our democracy is that liberty is acquired and kept by men and women who are strong and self-reliant, and possessed of such wisdom as God gives mankind; men and women who are just and understanding, and generous to others; men and women who are capable of disciplining themselves; for they are the rulers and they must rule themselves,'" said Davis, a native of Riviera Beach, Fla. "The warriors we honor today have taken their place forever among the most noble, those who have shed their blood for the freedom of others. We owe them a debt that can never be repaid."
As the friends and families of the 11 heroes memorialized looked on, close friends and leaders of these great warriors spoke about the kinds of Soldiers and people they truly were.
"Cpl. (Todd) Motley was very well-liked and admired by everyone. He was everybody's friend and brother," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Ramey, a platoon sergeant with Company B, 6th Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment, of his Soldier from Annarbor, Mich. "As a platoon sergeant, you couldn't ask for a better Soldier than Cpl. Motley."
Along with being an outstanding Soldier, Ramey remembered Motley as a family man.
"He enjoyed being with his family," Ramey said. "These three ladies, his wife Karen, and two daughters, Kaylee and Hannah, were the loves of his life. You could always see the happiness on his face as he spoke about them."
Another fallen warrior memorialized was Staff Sgt. Terry Wagoner, who grew up in Greenville, S.C., and was assigned Co. B, 6th Bn., 9th Cav. Regt.
"Speaking about Staff Sgt. Terry Wagoner is one of the toughest things I have ever had to do," Staff Sgt. Robert Jones, also of Co. B, said as tears began to fill his eyes. "Despite what we know can happen, no one is ever prepared to loose someone they are close to. Knowing my friend died a hero doesn't make his death any easier to accept, and it doesn't fill the emptiness in my life as a result of his passing.
"Daniel believed that there was something worth fighting for," Jones said. "He wasn't a Soldier simply because it was a job. He wasn't planning on using his college fund, or trying to escape a boring life. He could have succeeded in any job he chose. He believed in what he was doing, and he believed he was doing something good for a purpose greater than himself."
When Davis concluded his remarks, he a few last thoughts about the 11 men and women that were being honored at the day's ceremony.
"These American heroes' love of freedom encompassed both their desire to protect our country's freedom, and their dedication to extend that freedom to a land where freedom did not exist," Davis said. "They fought for justice, for people who have never known justice. They epitomized honor to their families, to their fellow soldiers, and to our great Nation. Each of them did their duty, even to the last full measure."