Fort Riley honors its fallen in 9/11 Ceremony of Remembrance
September 11, 2011
The Fort Riley community gathered at the post's Global War on Terror monument today to honor their fallen comrades in a 9/11 remembrance ceremony.
Soldiers, Families, first responders and politicians, including Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, attended the ceremony to pay their respect to those lost in the attacks ten years ago and the Fort Riley troops who have died since.
The ceremony was centered on the monument, a small replica of the twin towers which bears the names of Fort Riley Soldiers who have given their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fifteen names were added to the monument this year, all members of the 1st Infantry Division.
Commanding general of Fort Riley and the 1st Inf. Div., Maj. Gen. William Mayville, spoke during the ceremony.
"Today the 1st Infantry Division has over 11,000 troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait," said Mayville. "When they return, others from this division will replace them.
"None are more mindful of the price of our freedom than those in uniform who serve in harm's way to defend it; none are more mindful of the cost of freedom than the and children who have lost loved ones fighting for it," he said.
Samantha Cook and her two children were among those on the receiving end of the general's speech.
Just three months ago, Samantha's husband, Spc. Michael Cook, Jr., died serving in Iraq with the division's 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team. It was June 6, his birthday.
"I'm honored to be here," said Cook after helping her daughter place Michael's name on the monument. "It's hard to see his name on there, but it's an honor.
"It was something very special that I'm going to cherish, that my kids are going to cherish," she said.
Mayville and Brownback also presented the children of the fallen Soldiers with memorial medallions, bearing the names of their parents.
In closing his speech, the general gave encouraging words the crowd, offering evidence of success in the Army's missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their loved ones had not fought and died in vain, he said.
"Where we have committed our resources, our treasures and our blood, we have made real progress," said Mayville. "We are making a difference on behalf of those we honor today."