Battalion says final 'farewell'
February 27, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - "We wanted to do this ceremony today to afford all of us... the opportunity to honor our fallen comrades one last time before the 'Warhorse' (battalion) began to change face, as all units will do," said Lt. Col. Kevin Dunlop, commander of the 3rd Squadrom, 8th Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at a memorial ceremony on Feb. 15.
The ceremony was held at the First Team Chapel and honored all of the battalion's fallen Soldiers.
"I know that not everybody had a chance to attend memorial ceremonies while we were in Iraq, because of the tactical situation... although we did our best," said Dunlop.
Dunlop then began to speak about moving on after leaving a combat zone.
"We here about closure, but is it really possible'" he said. "I say not completely.
Dunlop compared his unit's history and hi life to a book.
"When you read a book you turn a page when you've engraved the part of the story that was on that page," Dunlop explained. "You turn that page and then you go on to read the next, but you don't rip the page out."
"On the pages of my mind that represent my life and the life of this battalion over those 14 months, there are images that I don't like to think about," he said, adding, "Things that are so it is illogical to want to think about them.
"On those pages are thoughts where I question my horrific own actions," he admitted. "I ask myself what I or what we could have done differently.
"On those pages there are also eight pictures," he said. "They are pictures of sons and fathers and husbands and of my Soldiers - and of our Soldiers."
Dunlop then spoke about the impact these Soldiers had.
"Their sacrifices meant something," said Dunlop. "Their sacrifices meant that there are still young men in our country who are willing to leave it all on the field of battle for their nation, for ideals, for values and as we all know, for each other.
"Their sacrifices made hope possible for people they never will know," he continued.
"Their sacrifices turned the tide when some people were trying to count the American fighting man out," he said.
"Their sacrifice made it known to the American people and to the world that as long as there is breath in an American Soldier, or in one case, an airman, he or she will not let you down," said Dunlop.
Though it was a time to say goodbye, it was also a time to talk about moving on.
"They will always be in our thoughts and prayers, always on those pages in our minds," he said, "pages we will turn in out minds, are turning now... but will never be ripped out. As a battalion our pages are already turning. We are moving on to a new chapter."