FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker honored fallen warriors and their families during its annual Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day Luminary Service Sept. 25 at Wings Chapel.
Soldiers, family members, civilian employees and Gold Star Family members all attended the event with the mission to keep the memories of those heroes alive and to support their families, according to Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, who spoke at the service.
“No words of mine could ever adequately express what our fallen servicemembers mean to so many, or what their sacrifice means to our nation,” McCurry said. “Your sons, daughters, fathers, mothers and families volunteered to serve without reservation – answering our nation’s call. Like generations of patriots before them, they did so willingly, fully cognizant of the challenges and demands of military service.
“Their personal courage, as well as their incredible personal sacrifice are revered by us all, in and out of uniform,” he added. “Today, on Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day, we honor their sacrifice and stand united with you in recognition of their incredible service.”
The general added that the point of the night was not to mourn, but to remember. “As (Gen. George S.) Patton said, we should thank God that they lived.”
He urged all present to share stories and memories of those who gave all for the country, “remembering them as they lived and honoring their fighting spirit that made the freedoms we enjoy possible. We wish to honor each and every one of you representing the resilient legacy of our Gold Star Mothers and Families tonight.
“Tonight’s luminary will be moving, collectively staying with us forever. We are a grateful nation perpetually in debt to the service that our fallen heroes have made to the world and our nation,” McCurry added. “We will always remember the significance of the last Sunday in September, and the symbolism of sacrifice when we see the Gold Star button.
“But most of all, our Gold Star Mothers and Families will forever be made in the highest place of honor in our Army and in our Army family – for you are what keep us above the best, and you keep us Army strong,” he said.
Retired Chaplain (Col.) Sonny Moore provided the pastoral message for the event, emphasizing what Jesus said in John 15:13.
“Greater love than this has no man than to lay his life down for his friends,” Moore said. “With 34 years in the Army and over 50 years in the ministry, I have often laid men’s souls to rest in both peace and war. I think the greatest thing people can do is to serve our nation.”
He told those assembled that they all share a duty.
“Our duty is to remember those who gave their lives, their limbs, their health, and we need to take care of them – we need to take care of family members, veterans … because it is the right thing to do as a nation,” Moore said. “And as General McCurry said, may we never forget the sacrifices of these who went before us.”