By Sgt. Michael MolinaroMay 24, 2007
FORT HOOD, Texas (Army News Service, May 24, 2007) - On a small patch of hallowed ground next to the 4th Infantry Division headquarters sits a symbol that serves as a reminder of the commitment to country by those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Soldiers, Families and friends joined Wednesday to rededicate the Wall of Honor monument at Cameron Field.
"Words alone cannot express the combined emotions we all feel today: A sense of loss, a sense of patriotic pride, a sense of humility and respect, a sense of honor," said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, the division's commanding general. "Many of us are honored to know and serve with such great Americans."
The 4th Inf. Div.'s Operation Iraqi Freedom memorial became part of the division's lore September 2, 2004, after the division returned from Iraq earlier that year. The memorial then paid honor to 83 Ivy Division Soldiers and a Department of the Army civilian employee who lost their lives in Iraq.
Upon the division's second return from Iraq this month, the memorial was expanded to make room for 235 additional fallen warrior plaques, which honor 232 Soldiers and three Marines - men and women who did not return home after serving under the Multinational Division - Baghdad banner, which was spearheaded by the 4th Inf. Div.
A new bench was also added to give friends and Family a place to sit and reflect upon the memory of their heroes.
"Nothing can replace your loss, but know in your soul - your sons and daughters left this earth pursuing freedom and protecting others," Maj. Gen. Hammond said.
Community individuals and businesses helped fund additions to the memorial.
The 4th Inf. Div. headquarters is scheduled move to Fort Carson, Colo., later this year, but the memorial will continue to honor the fallen comrades long after the division departs.
"This dedication will always be a place of honor to pay our respects to those who have gone before us," Maj. Gen. Hammond said. "But as we move forward from today, let's remember these men and women fought and died for us to live in freedom. They wanted their children and our children to grow and live in safety, not in fear.
"So, as we honor their memories today, let their legacy of hope live through all of us," he said. "Let's follow the example they set for us. Let's earn what they have given us."
(Sgt. Michael Molinaro writes for the 4th Infantry Division.)