Here is a 1st ID release on the dedication of the "Fallen Soldiers" memorial. As mentioned in the posting above, the design of this memorial was inspired by SSG Rosaleslomeli 2-2, KIA 13 April o4. Fittingly, in this article MG Baptiste quotes SGT Michael Carlson 2-2, who died in Iraq on 24 January 05.
1st ID remembers its fallen Soldiers
Memorial dedicated in ceremony on Leighton Barracks
WURZBURG, Germany – Soldiers with the 1st Infantry Division took time to honor and remember their fallen comrades June 6.
In between spurts of rainfall, 1st ID Soldiers and family members dedicated the Fallen Soldier Memorial in Victory Park on Leighton Barracks. The memorial stands in tribute to the 193 1st ID and Task Force Danger Soldiers, Marines and Airmen who died during OIF I and II. In attendance as guests of honor were family members of 28 fallen Soldiers.
1st ID Chaplain LTC Mike Lembke read from the 91st Psalms, and three wreaths were placed at the memorial, including one by MG John R.S. Batiste and CSM John D. Fourhman, the 1st ID commanding general, and the division command sergeant major, respectively.
Batiste reflected on the sacrifices made by the service men and women are honored as part of the memorial.
“It is indeed fitting that we dedicate this memorial on the anniversary of the day that the 1st Infantry Division stormed Omaha Beach,” Batiste said. “Today we honor the legacy of the heroes of Normandy, and we pay tribute to the Soldiers, Airmen and Marines who gave their full measure.”
The lives lost were part of a long struggle the United States and its allies are fighting against terrorism and tyranny, Batiste noted.
“Today we reflect on our incredible sacrifices and accomplishments,” the commanding general said. “Today, we reflect on our noble purpose and the urgency of winning the War on Terrorism. Today, we ask God to be with and comfort the families and loved ones of our fallen comrades. I could not be prouder of our collective accomplishments in Iraq. We truly made a difference. Our fallen comrades did not die in vain.”
Batiste acknowledged two Soldiers who were integral in the memorial becoming a reality: SGT Carlos Arguello of the 106th Finance Battalion, who designed the memorial, and CPL Jared Luera of HHC, 1st ID, who led the fund-raising effort.
Turning to the family members present, Batiste told them, “It means a great deal to all of us that you all are with us today. Many of you traveled great distances to be here. You well understand what it means to lose a loved one. We grieve with you for your loss and at the same time are inspired by your indomitable spirit.”
Batiste reflected on what the struggle in Iraq will eventually lead to.
“Our comrades died for a great cause: freedom and liberty,” Batiste said. “They took a firm stand against tyranny and oppression. It all came together on 30 January 2005 when 64 percent of Iraqi registered voters … cast their vote. This majority defied the insurgency and proclaimed a desire for freedom and representative government. The Soldiers we honor today contributed in a major way to this watershed event. They made a difference. Each and every one of these American patriots died a hero.”
Batiste read from a high school writing by one of the fallen Soldiers, SGT Michael C. Carlson.
“He wrote, ‘I want to be known as the best of the best at my job. I want people to need me, to count on me. I want to help people. I want to fight for something, to be part of something, to be part of something that is greater than myself. I sometimes dream of being a Soldier in war. In this war, I am helping to liberate people from oppression. In the end, there is a big parade and a monument built to immortalize us in stone,’” Batiste said.
“I suspect that SGT Carlson’s prophetic words written before he entered the Army ring true for many,” Batiste continued. “He wanted to make a difference. He did. He served a higher calling. He did his duty. He died for a noble cause. He died for his country and the betterment of mankind.”
Affixed to the ground leading up to the memorial statue lay 193 engraved marble plaques. Each plaque is dedicated to a fallen Soldier, Marine, or Airman from Task Force Danger the 1st ID. Batiste noted that a memorial is more than the materials poured into it.
“The fallen Soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division and Task Force Danger, and the thousands of other men and women who serve today in Iraq, have built their own memorial – a memorial far more meaningful than we could ever hope to build,” Batiste said. “Their memorial is in the hearts of 25 million Iraqis who now understand that freedom, liberty and representative government are within their grasp. Fallen Soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division and Task Force Danger -- we will never forget you. Rest in the knowledge that you made a difference to the people of Iraq, the United States of America, and all of mankind. It was an honor to serve with you.”
Following a prayer for the fallen by Chaplain (COL) Rodney Coleman, attendees made their way across the street to the 1st Infantry Division museum. There, they witnessed the opening of the museum’s OIF II exhibit. (Story by SGT W. Wayne Marlow, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)
MEMORIAL: On June 6, Soldiers with the 1st Infantry Division dedicated the 1st ID’s Fallen Soldier Memorial at Victory Park on Leighton Barracks. A walkway leading to the statue features 193 engraved marble plaques, one for each of the 193 1st ID and Task Force Danger Soldiers, Marines and Airmen who gave their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom I and II. (Photo by SGT W. Wayne Marlow, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)
SOLDIERS: 1st Infantry Division Soldiers look at engraved marble plaques that are part of the 1st ID’s Fallen Soldier Memorial. 1st ID Soldiers dedicated the memorial June 6 in Victory Park on Leighton Barracks, honoring the 193 1st ID and Task Force Danger Soldiers, Marines and Airmen who gave their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom I and II. (Photo by SGT W. Wayne Marlow, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)
1st Infantry Division
Public Affairs Office