Ceremony Honors Fallen Medical Servicemembers
(March 22, 2010)
Sarah Fargo honors her brother's memory by wearing his photo and dog tags at a ceremony honoring fallen military medical personnel at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., March 16, 2010. Army Cpl. Adam J. Fargo, a medic, was killed in Iraq in July 2006.
||WASHINGTON, March 17, 2010 – Army Cpl. Adam J. Fargo, a
medic, was killed by a homemade bomb while on patrol in Iraq
more than three years ago.
But his memory was strong for his sister yesterday, who wore
his dog tags and a picture of him in uniform draped around
“I love to honor him,” said Sarah Fargo, whose father and
two grandfathers stood by her side. “I love to see everyone
Fargo was one of the more than 300 people who gathered at
Arlington National Cemetery yesterday for the Military
Health System's 2010 Remembrance Ceremony dedicated to
fallen military medical personnel. Set on a hill with a
backdrop of white marble gravestones, the ceremony honored
244 medical servicemembers – medics, corpsmen, nurses and
doctors -- who died in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom
and Enduring Freedom from 2001 through Dec. 31, 2009.
More than 100 of those in attendance were family and friends
who came from around the nation and overseas to honor their
“Today we come with a united sense of purpose and a common
bond in that purpose,” said Dr. Charles L. Rice, who is
performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense
for health affairs. “We come together to remember and honor
our fallen loved ones; we come together to renew our
connection with the families and friends that share in this
loss. And we say thank you for what you have given, and we
say thank you for all of which your loved ones gave.” |
Countless people are alive, both in the United States and
overseas, because of the courage and heroism of the
servicemembers being honored at the ceremony, Rice said.
“These great men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice to
save their comrades and others,” he added.
|William Stecher, Ernest Dyson and Doug Fargo attend a ceremony in honor of fallen military medical personnel at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., March 16, 2010. Stecher and Fargo's grandson, Army Cpl. Adam J. Fargo, a medic, was killed in Iraq in July 2006.
Their families also paid a monumental price, Rice said. “Our
nation is indebted to you,” he said. “We will honor your
loved ones with tributes today so that they may never be
Navy Rear Adm. (Dr.) David J. Smith, the Joint Staff
surgeon, praised the nation's military medical personnel for
their devotion to duty on the battlefield.
Stephanie Walters and her daughter, 3-month-old Piper, attend a ceremony honoring fallen military medical personnel at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., March 16, 2010. Walters' husband, Army Sgt. Richard Walters, a nurse, was killed in Iraq.
||“In the anguish of combat, when all the good seems so
distant, it's the corpsman's compassion that provides a warm
light of solace, refusing to yield to the ever-pressing
darkness,” Smith said. “What can be said of a man or a woman
who, when confronted with their own demise or injury,
chooses to risk all to aid a fellow comrade? What greater
act of love or devotion can one perform?
“Their legacy is one of selfless service and a legacy that
lives on in each of us,” he continued. “For those left to
mourn and forever reflect on the loss of a loved one, I pray
that you will take some measure of comfort in the fact that
your family member was devoted to preserving life on the
Martha Raddatz, chief White House correspondent for ABC
News; Navy Vice Adm. (Dr.) Adam M. Robinson, Navy surgeon
general; and Army Maj. Gen. Deborah C. Wheeling, deputy
surgeon general of the Army National Guard, also spoke at
Following remarks, Gold Star members – an organization of
those who have lost loved ones in combat -- helped to lay a
ceremonial wreath in honor of the fallen servicemembers.
Stephanie Walters drove from Ohio to attend the ceremony
with her 3-month-old daughter, Piper, and her 18-month-old
daughter, Rachel. Her husband, Army Sgt. Richard Walters, a
nurse, was killed in Iraq while she was five-months pregnant
Walters sat through the ceremony clinging to her baby, her
eyes lowered. The ceremony, she noted afterward, was a
fitting tribute to his sacrifice.
“It really helps us feel the book is not closed on us,” she
said. “We're not an afterthought. I take personal solace
from that.” |
Article and photos by Elaine Wilson|
American Forces Press Service
Comment on this article