Memorial Day observances at Augusta, Carrollton, Malvern pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice

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Tears welled up in the eyes of guests and participants alike during a Memorial Day observance at Augusta Cemetery May 30 when six-year old Kaiden Foxx paid tribute to his father.

Foxx, whose father, Sgt. Dillon B. Foxx, 1st Bn 508 Infantry 82nd Airborne Division, US Army, was killed in action when he was only seven months old. The now six year old boy carried a vase of flowers to the flag pole at the cemetery, placed it in the ground and saluted. His mother, Jessica Cross of Carrollton, held the young man’s hand as he walked the short distance, which seemed like a mile.

Kaiden Foxx salute web
Six-year-old Kaiden Foxx salutes in memory of his father, Sgt. Dillon B. Foxx, during a Memorial Day observance at Augusta Cemetery. Foxx, with his mother holding his hand, walked to the flag pole in the cemetery, where he placed the flowers and saluted.

Guest speaker Sgt. Dave Miller, USMC, said Foxx, like so many other Gold Star Children, will only know his father in pictures, stories and articles.

“It is a side of war that is often overlooked, but it is all too real for these children who lose a parent in combat,” said Miller.

Gold Star Children are children who have lost a parent in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“More than two million American children have had a parent deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan,” said Miller. “At least 19,000 children have had a parent wounded in action and over 2,200 have lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

Miller shared a poem he wrote in the 1990s which was relevant to the ceremony.

One More Goodbye

 

He wiped her tear as they said goodbye

He said I’ll be ok, but couldn’t meet her eye

He said It’s not that long, as he tried to smile

A few yards to the plane, seemed like a mile

She watched as it slowly flew out of sight

For the rest of her life she’ll remember that night

She got her first letter marked Parris Island

After she read it, she started crying

She thought of the boy she had known so long

Their first kiss, and their favorite song

Why did he have to prove he was a man?

When she had given her heart, that wasn’t the plan

Now she’s all alone as he trains for war

She knows he loves her, but he belongs to the Corps

Now when she sees him, she isn’t quite sure

Is he the same man that she knew before?

He seems so different, the way that he talks

Stiff and formal, the way he walks

He seems so much taller, stronger and lean

The man she loves is now a Marine

They decide to get married, and go see the world

She wonders what happened to that innocent girl

The years go by, and she now has a son

He asks about his father, always on the run

She takes his hand and tells him one thing

You are the son of a US Marine

There’s a rumor of war, one day on the news

He comes home that night and says it’s true

 

So he wiped her tear as they said goodbye

He said I’ll be ok, but couldn’t meet her eye

He said it’s not that long, as he tried to smile

A few yards to the plane, seemed like a mile

She watched as it slowly flew out of sight

For the rest of her life she’ll remember that night

She watched the news each and every night

Praying that soon, he’d be home from this fight

Then one day came a knock on the door

He says I’m sorry, as she starts to cry

She can’t help but hope that it’s some kind of lie

She holds her son and reminds him one thing

You are the son of a US Marine

He wiped her tear as they said goodbye

He said we’ll be ok, but couldn’t meet her eye

He said it’s not that long, as he tried to smile

A few yards to the grave, seemed like a mile

She watched as it slowly dropped out of sight

For the rest of her life she’ll remember that night

She asks her son to promise one thing

Don’t ever grow up to be a Marine

But she knows it’s too late, she can see it in his eyes

So she sits back and waits for one more good bye.

Representatives of Minerva, Malvern and Bolivar American Legions participated in the ceremony. Roger Rohr of Minerva Legion gave the invocation and benediction. Mike Lee and Elden Bell, Minerva Legion, Paul Hawkins, Malvern Legion and David Lingo, Bolivar Legion, along with Miller performed the three-volley salute.

Frank Hudson of Carroll Hills Workshop sang The Star Spangled Banner and Kyle Hudson, a freshman at Minerva High School, played Taps.

Miller is a 1987 graduate of Minerva High School. He graduated Marine boot camp in July 1988, and served eight years active duty and eight years reserve.

 

AT CARROLLTON

Retired Marine Charles “Chuck” Pearson reminded those gathered in Westview Cemetery for the Carrollton Memorial Day observance that our love of freedom comes from God.

“It is God’s desire for his people to be free,” said Pearson, who was guest speaker for the annual observance. “He wants us to be free from physical oppression, hardship and free from spiritual bondage. God also gave us freedom of choice – and we, in the United States, chose freedom. All of those we honor today helped us to gain our freedom and maintain and protect it.”

Pearson took guests back on a journey though America’s history, reviewing the wars and conflicts Americans were involved in, starting with George Washington’s army of valiant patriots in the Revolutionary War. He carried guests on an emotional history lesson through the Barbary Wars in the early 1800s, the War of 1812, onto the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He talked about the role the United States has played as the protector of freedom for other countries and how American men and women were willling to serve in Vietnam and Korea in what is known as a limited war and how Americans today are willing to fight the War on Terror.

Pearson was emotional as he shared the story of two marines, members of infantry battalions 1/9 and 2/8 which were switching out in Ramadi, Iraq, on April 22, 2008.

He told how the two men, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, one from each battalion, were assuming watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained makeshift barracks housing 50 marines and 100 Iraqi police.

He vividly described the scene as a large blue truck turned down the ally way and began moving toward the entrance, gaining speed as it moved. The action was all caught on a security camera at the entrance to the barracks

“It was obvious that it had no intention of stopping,” Pearson related. The two marines stepped to the middle of the road and began firing. Their rounds hit the windshield exploding it into shards of glass.”

He said a few Iraqi police also stepped into the street and fired their weapons and then ran for cover. “The two marines never stepped back and the truck careened to a stop just a few feet in front of them exploding with a powerful blast,” he said, his voice quivering.

The blast killed the two marines and damaged or destroyed homes and a mosque as far away as 100 yards.

Pearson related the response of an Iraqi police offer, “In the name of God, no sane man would have stood there and done what they did. They saved us all!”

“God gave America the greatest gift He could bestow to man while He lived on this earth –freedom,” said Pearson, with conviction in his voice. “We believe He gave us another gift nearly as precious – our armed forces to safeguard that gift of freedom and to guarantee that no force on this earth can ever steal it away. Please keep them in your prayers.”

The annual observance included the singing of the National Anthem by Javan Shields, Dr. Mandal Haas playing “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes and Tap played by Carrollton Band Members Ali Kinney and Cody Casto.

Tom Indorf, a veteran, reminded guests of the importance of Memorial Day and those we honor on that day.

“I often receive words of thanks on Memorial Day for my service,”

said Indorf. “That bothers me because Memorial Day is about those who didn’t come home to their family and friends and who didn’t have the opportunity to be called veterans.”