Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fort Lewis To Consolidate Memorials For the Dead

Michael Gilbert The News Tribune
Fort Lewis, which this month has suffered its worst losses of the war, will no longer conduct individual memorial ceremonies for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead, the post will hold one ceremony for all soldiers killed each month, the Fort Lewis acting commanding general, Brig. Gen. William Troy, wrote in a memo to commanders and staff last week.

“As much as we would like to think otherwise, I am afraid that with the number of soldiers we now have in harm’s way, our losses will preclude us from continuing to do individual memorial ceremonies,” Troy wrote in the memo, according to a copy obtained by United for Peace Pierce County and posted on the group’s Web site. A post spokesman confirmed the policy change Tuesday. It will start in June.

There are 10,000 Fort Lewis troops in Iraq, more than at any other time since the March 2003 invasion. The post has reported 16 soldiers killed there so far in May, by far the most in any month of the war. The previous worst month was December 2004, when nine soldiers were killed, including six in the Mosul chow hall bombing. In all overseas deployments since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 124 Fort Lewis soldiers have died.

In his memo dated May 22, Troy said he asked the post’s senior chaplain, Col. Jack Van Dyken, to work out the details of the new policy.

“I see this as a way of sharing the heavy burdens our spouses and rear detachments bear, while giving our fallen warriors the respect they deserve,” Troy wrote. “It will also give the families of the fallen the opportunity to bond with one another, as they see others who share their grief.”

Other Army posts already consolidate soldier memorials into one or two ceremonies per month.

My girlfriend's nephew is currently serving in Iraq. He's stationed out of Ft. Lewis, in Washington. His wife brought this new Ft. Lewis policy to my attention and I must say I think it's a sad day in America when our troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan can't get their own individual funerals/memorials. I realize that it's more financially practical to hold a monthly ceremony for all the soldiers at once but, I personally think honoring each and every soldier, who's given his/her life for the nation, is the least we can do and a more than worthwhile expense.


Blogger Sguffalo Bill said...

Hi dear! your blog is great!

....but it still needs a little bit of SGUFALA!

7/18/2007 3:18 AM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

I agree with you Leo. What's the cost of the ceremonies?

What is the purpose of changing such ceremonies, are there to many troops being killed to honor them one at a time?

7/18/2007 10:26 AM  
Blogger Leo said...

Sguffalo, thanks, I think-lol. Let's Talk, thanks for the support. I'm not sure of the cost of the ceremonies, but whatever it is I think it's worth it.

7/18/2007 10:47 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

I'm sure it's more efficient to consolidate all these soldiers' funerals, but it's way too callus and soul-less. I wonder if these military "leaders" would consolidate funerals in their own families. If a spouse or sibling dies, don't have the funeral right away. Wait until 9 other relatives die and then have a funeral for ten. Come on, it's much more efficient.

Who Hijacked Our Country

7/18/2007 3:33 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

Tom, well put! Thanks for adding your thoughts.

7/18/2007 3:37 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

This is such an insult to those serving and their families! I couldn't believe it when my niece told me about it, granted I may be more pissed off about it because it could effect my family, but its nice to see that other people think its absurd!

7/18/2007 6:41 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

Jenn, I think most people who hear about it would find it offensive and assnine. Hopefully, more people will find out about what's going on at Ft. Lewis and a lot of our other posts. Thanks for the comment and the info.

7/19/2007 2:18 AM  

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