FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker honored seven fallen service members and their survivors in the local area during its Gold Star Families Holiday Remembrance ceremony Dec. 12 in the lobby of the Soldier Service Center, Bldg. 5700.
Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, said the event is important for local Gold Star Families and the post community as a whole.
“Some of you may remember that movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ where Clarence the angel says, ‘Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many others,’” Francis said. “What we’re doing here today is an example of how these individuals (fallen service members) continue to touch our lives each and every day.
“We come together during this time to reflect on the good memories of our loved ones – and we miss them, too, we miss their presence during these times,” the general added. “Just as importantly, it’s important for us to honor you, our beloved Gold Star Families. You are precious to us, and we know and honor the sacrifice that you have made, as well. We appreciate you being with us today, and allowing us to honor you and your sacrifices today.”
Francis and other USAACE and post leaders met with the Gold Star Families prior to the ceremony and the general said he was impressed with how close-knit the local group of Gold Star Families had become.
“This community is very strong and supportive of each other, and always looking to find a way to help one another or anyone else who suffers that same loss that all of you have suffered,” he said. “As we honor our fallen today, my message to all of you is that we will never forget. We will continue to honor the lives and service of our fallen, and all of you who have suffered great loss, as well. Thank you all for coming today, and God bless each of you and your families.”
Family members were able to place an ornament on the tree in honor of their loved one and also encouraged to speak a few words about them during the ceremony.
Terry Doby, spouse of fallen Soldier Sgt. 1st Class Quentin Doby, thanked the general for hosting the ceremony, adding that it means a lot to survivors.
“We’re all here at this time and at this base because we have all lost a loved one,” she said. “It’s just wonderful to come together and when you’re going through hard times you know that you’re not alone. I know my husband is smiling down on us. Thank you to everyone here, and I hope and pray that you have a blessed holiday season.”
Other fallen service members who were honored at the ceremony included:
* CW2 Francisco Garcia;
* Sgt. 1st Class William T. Butts;
* Sgt. 1st Class Randall Hart;
* Staff Sgt. Thomas Davis;
* Pfc. John Brown; and
* Pfc. Brendan Neenan.
The tree and ornaments will remain on display in the lobby of Bldg. 5700 throughout the holidays. For more information on the Fort Rucker Survivor Outreach Services office, call 255-9639.