By Sgt. April Campbell/82nd Abn. Div. PAOJuly 1, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The All-American Division remembered its fallen paratroopers during the annual 82nd Airborne Division Memorial Ceremony at the 82nd Airborne Division Museum, June 23.
During the ceremony, current and former paratroopers, presented a memorial wreath honoring all fallen division Soldiers from World War I through Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Among those gathered to remember was Maj. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the commanding general for the 82nd Abn. Div.
"The men and women we honor today are ordinary men and women who have done an extraordinary and most noble thing," Scaparrotti said. "They gave their lives for our freedom, for the mission and for their buddies.
"Each of these individuals had dreams for their future and each had a Family - they were husbands, sons, brothers, daughters."
Many of these Families attended the ceremony and placed yellow roses at the 82nd Abn. Div. Global War on Terror Monument to honor their fallen Family member and paratrooper.
For Andrea Garcia, whose son-in-law, Sgt. Charles E. Wyckoff, was killed in action about three years ago, the ceremony was an emotional and eye-opening event.
"I felt very proud," she said. Upon hearing the national anthem and seeing the American flag, Garcia said she was reminded of the Americans who first fought for our country when the flag was originally sewn. For her, the All-Americans remembered at the memorial were no different than those who fought so many years ago.
"These men are made of that same substance," Garcia said.
Perhaps it is the memory of these first American patriots and their dedication to the American people that makes this substance endure through the years.
"We fight because we owe a debt to those who came before us," Scaparrotti said. "We have a responsibility to those around us,"
That debt, owed to all who have served, whether they are the original American Revolutionary Soldiers or the 82nd paratroopers of the present day, is an inspiring force.
"All Americans will always serve with the legacy of these heroes as a driving force for excellence in all that we do," said Scaparrotti.