By Staff Sgt. Christopher McCulloughFebruary 7, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers from 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, gathered together Tuesday at the brigade's Fallen Heroes Memorial to honor its fallen warriors in a re-dedication ceremony.
It was just 15 months ago that many of these same soldiers were gathered here in advance of their deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The gathering this time, however, was a much more solemn occasion.
Tuesday's re-dedication of the Arrowhead memorial brought to JBLM several of its wounded warriors, as well as the sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, wives, sisters, brothers and friends of those Arrowhead Brigade soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice while in Afghanistan.
The six-foot bronze memorial statue, erected in 2007, stands atop a base of granite into which the names of 129 3rd SBCT soldiers are now etched.
"We dedicate this monument to the memory of our friends, our battle buddies and our heroes," said Webster. "May they always hold the high ground, always be on point and always lead from the front."
At the onset of the ceremony, special guests were introduced and welcomed, and the brigade command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel Murphy, took the opportunity to thank those in attendance.
The brigade commander, Col. Charles Webster, and Murphy laid a memorial wreath, a firing battery from 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment rendered a 21-gun salute, and the brigade chaplain called off the names of all 25 fallen soldiers who died during the brigade's deployment to Afghanistan.
At the conclusion, Gold Star family members took the time to visit the memorial wall upon which the names of their loved ones are permanently etched and create a charcoal rubbing of their soldier's name.
The memorial itself is important for the soldiers of the unit as well as the families, Murphy explained. That is, perhaps, why ceremonies such as this, are not only for the soldiers, friends and family of the deceased to mourn their loss, but it's also to show that their loved one's death wasn't in vain.