Story and photos by Geoffrey Roper
In what is now the seventh annual ceremony, Fort Carson honored 53 more of its fallen Soldiers during the Mountain Post Warrior Memorial Ceremony May 27, bringing the total number memorialized to 335.
Friends, Family members and Soldiers came to the event, which took place on a warm and sunny afternoon, a picture-perfect scene for such a solemn occasion.
The day started with music by the 4th Infantry Division Band playing softly as participants and guests slowly found their seats.
Soldiers grouped together in bleachers; VIPs sat on the opposite side of Family members of the fallen. The statue of Kit Carson centered on everything, with a lone Soldier standing guard by the wreath placed in front of large stones with the names of all the Fort Carson men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country.
Next, everyone who attended stood as the national anthem was played, this time reminding all who were there just how powerful the words sung truly can be.
Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, spoke about the pride the Army felt toward those it lost. He spoke about the honor given to them and the respect they will always have, never to be forgotten; their names etched into stone for all to see for as long as this place of tribute stands.
“Many a philosopher has said that the greatest tragedy in life is to live your life and not know for sure if you made a difference. Well, the Soldiers that we are memorializing here today did not suffer that fate. They knew from the beginning that their life would make a difference, and it has,” he said.
Next, a piper played “Amazing Grace” while marching from one end of the memorial to the other, bringing many in the crowd, especially Family members of those lost, to tears.
Then, the roll call of the fallen Soldiers took place. For every name spoken, a lone Soldier marched softly to the wreath, lifted his hand slowly into a salute, put it back down to his side and quietly marched away.
Each name called was one lost forever, a Soldier no longer here, a friend no longer there to talk to, a husband or wife no longer there to love, and a father or mother no longer able to comfort their own.
A Soldier set off from the ceremony played taps, unseen but easily heard by all, again, prompting many to tears.
Family members then got the chance to approach the stones with their loved ones’ names on them. Some hugged each other; others wiped away tears, still others rubbing engraved names onto paper with a pencil.
All appeared a bit closer to each other in their shared grief, now having a common bond, and as Perkins said, they did not die in vain, but instead, died heroes to their country.