By Sgt. 1st Class Paula TaylorNovember 19, 2012
FAIRBORN, OHIO (Nov. 14, 2012)--A crowd of approximately 200 2nd and 3rd grade students from Fairborn Primary School bundled up and gathered around their flagpole in the frigid morning air Nov. 14 to witness a ceremony that honored one of the school's former students, U.S. Army Spc. Jesse Snow who was killed in action in Afghanistan Nov. 2010.
The memorial marker dedication ceremony began with the raising of the American flag, followed by the school's assistant principal, Eric Combs, introducing the special guests.
Two of those guests attending the ceremony were Soldiers from Snow's unit, the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, from Fort Campbell, Ky.
After the introductions, Maj. Joshua Schneider, commander, 1-327 Inf. Rgmt. Rear-Detachment, addressed the students, faculty and members of Snow's family.
"It was just over two years ago today that Jesse Snow paid the ultimate sacrifice for this great country," Schneider said. "He, like so many other young men and women, did not ask for the fight they found themselves in; they simply stood up and took an oath to protect the United States of America against all enemies. This oath took him from his home and placed him in harm's way in a small village in the Pech River Valley in Eastern Afghanistan.
"Jesse is remembered by his friends and fellow Soldiers as one who was always in a good mood, no matter what circumstance he found himself in," Schneider continued. "He was always upbeat and would give his last meal to others in need. This act of generosity was shown daily in his interaction and aspiration of helping the citizens of Afghanistan."
Staff Sgt. Ryan Krause, who was injured in the same brutal battle in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, that cost Spc. Snow his life, along with four other Soldiers, set a wreath next to the memorial marker after it was unveiled during the ceremony.
"I was glad for the opportunity to be there," said Krause. "I was a squad leader in 1st Platoon, Company A, when Specialist Snow was a Soldier in 3rd Platoon, Company A. I knew him via his reputation as a competent and responsible Soldier. I am one of the last members of the unit still assigned to 1-327 Inf. that was part of the operation during which Specialist Snow was killed. I attended the trip in order to provide that continuity."
Combs was glad the Soldiers from Snow's unit at Fort Campbell could attend the event and explained the importance of placing this marker in front of his school.
"This is part of what we call our Patriot Program," Combs explained. "I retired from the military and started teaching in 2001. Jesse Snow was one of my students at the high school. I became a principal a few years ago and now I am at the primary school. When I arrived, our flag pole was broken and many classrooms didn't have flags, hence the start of the program. Our plan was to reconnect with Wright Patterson Air Force Base and our veterans so that our students could learn flag etiquette and what the armed services does for our country. Since then, we have had many speakers come to our flag pole to help raise the colors and talk to our 2nd grade class about what the flag and serving our country means to them."
Now that the grey stone marker is in place next to the flag pole, which bears the name of Snow, the students can see and remember that some pay the ultimate price for our freedom, said Combs.