The last full measure: Remembrance Day salutes America's fallen
Fernanda Chamorro/Sun Star Reporter
Nov. 15, 2011
This year marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Since that day, approximately 6,305 men and women have lost their lives in the ensuing wars. Volunteers at UAF took turns reading the names of the fallen as part of the Remembrance Day National Roll Call on Veterans’ Day, Friday, Nov. 11.
Jennifer Ward, UAF Veterans Affairs coordinator, along with the Student Veterans of UAF and UAF ROTC, brought the event to UAF for students and the community to pay their respects.
Ward, 30, is the spouse of an active service member who
currently trains in the Lower 48. She comes from a military background with both her mother and father having served in the Vietnam War. She feels that it is important to honor active duty soldiers daily. Americans rarely take the time to remember the fallen and that is exactly why she involved UAF in the roll call, she said.
“I thought it would be amazing to take a moment to reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice and bring it to UAF,”
The names on the list revealed the variety of people who have fought or worked on behalf of the United States. Soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and government agents were all listed and the names were read in the order by the date the person died. They all lost their lives during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), now known as Operation New Dawn.
ROTC cadet Aschante Deter, 20, read the first name of the event: Master Sergeant Evander E. Andrews. Andrews was 36 when he died in an accident in the Northern Arabian Peninsula on 10/10/2001. He was with the 366th Civil Engineeer Squadron in the U.S. Air Force.
The event began in front of Constitution Hall at 8 a.m. with the opening remarks of Capt. Eugene Cramer from ROTC.
Lydia Graf sung the National Anthem and UAF ROTC continued the ceremony with the posting of the colors and put up the flags . There were 33 volunteers who spoke, read names or sang.
There were six ROTC members who helped post and retire the colors, seven National Guard Honor Guard members performed a rifle salute and
the Alaska Vets motorcycle club presented the Fallen Soldier Display. This display was comprised of a rifle, a helmet, dog tags, boots and roses. The helmet and identification tags indicated the fallen soldier. The upturned rifle signaled a time for prayer to pay tribute to the casualties. The combat boots represented the final march of the last battle and the roses showed the community’s respect and love.
It was a cold day, but people still stopped by with their hot chocolates or clenching one another to listen for a while. “We just wanted to stop by and pay our respects,” said Rachel Schwanke, 23-year-old UAF student, accompanied by graduate student Nathan Hokenson, 24.
Marco Lewis, 50, wore his veteran gear at the event. His real name is Mark, but he was nicknamed Marco due to his many friends named Mark. He retired as a medical sergeant after 20 years.
“Since I retired, I’m more and more aware of how important it is to appreciate the opportunities that, being a soldier and veteran, I’ve been given,” Lewis said.
He spoke of how sad it is that those who have worked really hard
and sacrificed for this country are being marginalized. He was startled after he read the name of a physician that had worked with him on the list of names and began paying attention to hear if he would recognize other names, he said.
“It’s hard when you’ve been working day in and day out with someone and they die right in front of you.”
Around 4:10 p.m., all of the names had been read,
the Honor Guard performed a rifle salute and a man played the bugle to signal the conclusion of the ceremony. ROTC retired the colors and marched away to end the activities.
“I really want to thank everyone that came out to pay tribute, the volunteers, and even those who stopped by to give a minute of their time in memory of our fallen soldiers. Happy Veterans’ Day,” Ward said.