A memorial service remembering the ultimate sacrifice made by Arkansas National Guardsmen was held here on Sunday, May 4.
Families remember their fallen Soldier in different ways, but always with fond devotion and good memories.
Veronica Collier, of El Dorado, wife of Sgt. Russell Lee Collier, Jr. who was kill in action in October 2004, remembers her husband well. "It’s amazing, everyone comes together and remembers the Soldiers that’s been lost. You always wonder if people still think about the sacrifice, and this proves they do," she said.
Sgt. Collier was killed while deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a member of the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
"We’re very honored to be here, and really appreciate that everyone is honoring our family member," Collier said.
For Cheryl Felder-Stuart, of Lewisville, it’s becoming harder to come to ceremonies for her son, Capt. Arthur "Bo" Felder.
"This is painful," Felder-Stuart said, "it opens up the wound, but I just remember all the good things and good times and good memories. After all, they chose this life, they chose the military…, he died doing what he chose to do – protecting his country," she said.
Capt. Felder, also a member of the 39th Infantry Brigade was killed in a mortar attack on his forward operating base in April of 2004.
"We take a moment to reflect and memorialize those folks at least every year so we don’t forget the sacrifice they made," said Col. James Treece, Deputy Chief of Staff for Engineering, Arkansas Army National Guard.
"There are at least five names at the memorial," mentioned Treece, "and as long as I’m alive, part of them will live with me. I’ll certainly never forget, and today we’ll make it so others will never forget as well."
"This is an opportunity to remember our fallen," said Col. John M. Stewart, commander, 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. "It’s something we can never forget. This is an excellent opportunity to come here and pay our respects to the families, and to the Soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice," he said.
For many families, it’s indeed hard and for others, time heals and softens painful wounds. All across the state and indeed the nation, we remember our Soldier heroes through services such as the memorial service for the fallen Soldiers from the Arkansas Army National Guard.
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Cheryl Felder-Stuart, wife of fallen Arkansas Army National Guard Soldier pauses for a moment to reflect on her son’s sacrifices for his country during the memorial services, May 4, at Camp Robinson, Ark. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Scott D. Turner, 343rd MPAD)
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Col. James Treece, deputy chief of staff for Engineering, Arkansas Army National Guard, takes a moment to ponder on the sacrifices of Arkansas Army National Guard Soldiers prior to the May 4 memorial service. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Scott D. Turner, 343r MPAD)
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Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Veazey, State Command Sgt. Maj. for the Arkansas National Guard escorts Cheryl Stuart Felder, a Gold Star Mother, to the Fallen Soldier Memorial on Sunday, May 4, 2014, prior to the annual service for the fallen at Robinson Maneuver Training Center in North Little Rock. Veazey was a member of the 39th Brigade Combat Team and served with Capt. Arthur "Bo" Felder who was killed during operations in Iraq in April 2004. (Arkansas National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Keith Moore.)
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Members of the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquarters stand at attention during a memorial service to the fallen members of the Arkansas National Guard on Sunday, May 4, 2014. The 39th IBCT lost 16 members during its 2004-2005 deployment in combat operations supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Arkansas National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Keith Moore,.)
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Spc. Kore Smith, chaplains assistant with the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Arkansas National Guard, tolls the bell as the names of the Guard’s past fallen soldiers are read aloud. Smith was part of the Guard’s annual Fallen Soldier Memorial Ceremony held Sunday, May 04, 2014, at Robinson Maneuver Training Center in North Little Rock. The Fallen Soldier Monument bears the names of 47 members of the Guard and its predecessor militia which have died in combat since the Spanish American War. (Arkansas National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Keith Moore.)
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Maj. Gen. William Wofford (left), the adjutant general and Command Sgt. Maj. Deborah Collins the senior enlisted leader of the Arkansas National Guard, render a salute during the playing of Taps at the Fallen Soldier Memorial Service held Sunday, May 04, 2014, at Robinson Maneuver Training Center in North Little Rock. (Arkansas National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Keith Moore.)