Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fallen Soldier Memorial Service

As I mentioned in a previous posting, we lost four Task Force Phoenix soldiers last week. Well we lost another soldier two days ago in a small arms fire fight with the Taliban. I try not to dwell on the increasing violence that is happening here but you can’t help it, especially when you hear the daily reports.

Let me pay tribute to our fallen heroes; CPT Joshua Steele, SFC Christopher Henderson, SFC John Hennen and SSG Roy Lesayder. Four men who were here serving their country and the Afghan and who paid the ultimate price.
The memorial service was very moving. It was held outside the DFAC (dining facility) in front of the flag pole, on Patriot’s Plaza. I wish I could remember more of what was said but I can’t. So you’ll have to settle for the highlights. It was interesting to me what caused me to choke up. As the Chaplain described the men, when he described three of them as husbands and fathers, that really hit me. He then reminded us that three of them were killed on Father’s Day. That was a hard one. What a terrible way to remember Father’s Day for their families in the future and yet they will be able to celebrate the bravery, courage and dedication of their Patriot Fathers. They were described as ordinary men doing extraordinary things. We are here to help the Afghan people and the Afghan Army forge a nation built on democracy and freedom. There are evil men and forces out there that do not want this to happen. Each of us, in our own way, are doing extraordinary things. The other comment that really choked me up was when they were described as being cut from the same cloth as the flag; honor, courage and patriotism. What a wonderful thing to say about a soldier.

As we stood there listening to the various speakers the sun began to set. There was enough of a breeze to cause the flags to waive. That was pretty cool. The few clouds in the sky caused the sun to sun to peak through. And then as the sun set behind the mountains it cast a warm glow over the service. My camera couldn’t catch the beauty of the setting so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I won’t describe the specifics of the service. You’ll have to go back and read about LT Lundell’s service last November to get those details of a Fallen Soldier service but this time we had to go through four missing personnel at roll call. That was incredibly hard.

No one likes to go through these services. My heart goes out to the families of these soldiers. I wish I had the words to express the feelings we had standing there on the plaza but I don’t. All I can say is that unless you’ve been here you’ll never fully understand what we’ve gone through and what it’s like to participate in the proceedings.


angelj2674 said...

I would like to thank you for posting this memorial service. You see I am the wife of SFC Christopher Henderson. I so far have seen nothing of this memorial service so this was nice. I appreciate the kind words. They used a nice picture of him at least although I haven't seen that one yet. I wish I could get a copy of it. He was a very devoted husband and father to our 8 yr old daughter. He was also a great friend to anyone who met him. He will be missed by his team as well I am sure. Anyway, thank you so much.
Jennifer Henderson (
Spouse of SFC Henderson
KIA FATHERS DAY Panjway, Afghanistan

smoreno said...

Thank you for posting this memorial service. I am the very proud mother of SFC John Michael Hennen. I would appreciate if I could get a copy of the picture that you used as I do not have one like that.
John loved life and family. He was a very proud father to his namesake John Michael Hennen II. He was also very proud to be among the finest and most elite of our country...AN AMERICAN SOLDIER. Thanks to all of you for protecting our freedom. Wishing you all God's Speed on your missions and your safe return home.

Susan Moreno
PROUD Mother of SFC John Hennen
KIA Father's Day Afghanistan

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this memorial. CPT Steele is my baby brother. It was good for us to be able to read about Josh's memorial service in Afghanistan. Josh was very glad to be serving with the last team he was with in Afghanistan because of the quality of the other soldiers there.

Gina M. Steele (
Sister of CPT Steele
KIA FATHER'S DAY, Panjway, Afghanistan