Fort Irwin joins local community in Memorial Day commemoration
May 31, 2011
BARSTOW, Calif.- Although Fort Irwin and National Training Center commanding general Brig. Gen. Terry Ferrell admitted he’s not usually a man of quotes, he chose a quote from Gen. George Patton to punctuate his remarks at the Barstow, Calif. Memorial Day commemoration at the Mountain View Memorial Park on Monday.
“’ It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived,’” Ferrell said as he addressed the more than 100 veterans, Soldiers, Marines and community members gathered for the ceremony as a gentle breeze echoed the voices of the fallen.
While the nation mourns the loss and hurt felt by the families of its brave men and women lost defending our freedom, everyone should rejoice in the courage in the hearts of every man and woman who has lost their life serving the nation, he said.
“We should rejoice in the selfless actions of these brave men and women who thought themselves just ordinary people, but rose to meet seemingly impossible expectations to keep hope and freedom alive,” he said.
Over the years, the meaning of the day has slipped, but as the nation has been engaged in conflict for the past 10 years, it has contributed men and women around the world, many whom have given their lives in honor of the nation, protecting freedom, he said.
“Lives that are shattered by the loss of a mother, a father, a brother, a sister or son or daughter are often supported today by communities like Barstow and around the world,” he said. “Today we come together to honor them in a joyous, thankful and a triumphant commemoration of what they did.”
The graves at Arlington National Cemetery and countless cemeteries around the world serve as reminders that freedom isn’t free, he said.
“The Soldiers resting there lived supporting the lives and the freedom and the values that create the backbone of our nation and they paid the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.
Even as the nation gathered to remember the sacrifices of the fallen, Ferrell said it is important to remember the families who have given their support to the nation.
“They stand strong through uncertainty and whose resilience and dedication serves to drive us all, to make us understand what our nation supports,” he said.
As he closed his remarks, Ferrell exhorted those gathered not to forget the brave Americans serving around and throughout the world on Memorial Day.
“Let us remember them on this day and rejoice in the courage, sacrifice and hope of their families who proudly support those who are deployed around the world defending our freedom,” he said. “I thank each and everyone for the service that you contribute to our nation. I thank the families for your dedication and for providing your loved one to the call of arms.”
Barstow Mayor Joe Gomez called Memorial Day, a day “we pay tribute to either a friend or relative who has served our country.”
“We can pay tribute in many ways: by putting flowers on the grave of a Soldier, visiting a veteran in our veterans home, or thanking a member of our armed services for serving our country,” Gomez said.
After more than 20 wreaths were laid at the foot of the cemetery’s veterans monument, a rifle squad from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Irwin fired a 21-gun salute in tribute to the fallen as “Taps” played by a Marine bugler echoed across the High Desert marking the end to this year’s commemoration.