Veterans Park Vigil

By: Mike Rockwood
By: Mike Rockwood

One after the other the names of fallen soldiers were read aloud, as veterans from the Brazos Valley gathered to remember those who lost their lives in the war on terror.

"Why Iraq and Afghanistan veterans? They're our newest casualties, the wounds are still open," said veteran Ray White. "Their families are missing them and I think it's very important to hold them in our hearts and minds."

At Veterans Park in Bryan, over 2,000 names were not only read, but also displayed for everyone to see. The Brazos County Chapter of Veterans for Peace created "The Wall" which consisted of 19 panels listing coalition casualties from Iraq and 3 panels listing those that died in Afghanistan.

As of May 2005 there have been a total of 1,824 coalition troop deaths in the war in Iraq, while the Afghanistan war has claimed the lives of 211 soldiers.

"I honor their selflessness, I honor their sense of duty which I think in most cases is altruistic...this I honor," said veteran Doug Stocks.

"It is a time that is set aside to reflect on the losses and reflect on the sacrifices that the young men and women who our government has sent to war have made," said Ray White.

And while the sacrifices of these soldiers aren't easily forgotten, displays like "The Wall" tend to put everything in perspective.

"We all tend to get wrapped up in our own issues and our own lives and there is nothing wrong with that," said White. "Once a year I think we should at least take part of the day to sit down and reflect on the sacrifices that these people have made."

Whether that is on Memorial Day makes no difference.


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