N.C. - The Army Reserve center in Cary, N.C., was renamed
June 8, 2013 in a light but solemn ceremony that celebrated
the short life and service of Spc. Daniel Lucas Elliott
Elliott, a military police officer, was
killed in action July 15, 2011 in Basra, Iraq, when his
vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb just three days shy of
his 22nd birthday.
According to his family, his
decision to join the military came in 2001 when he was just
11 years old as a result of the 9-11 attacks. The Elliotts
had been watching the events unfold on television and Lucas
turned to them and said, "I'm going to do something about
On Jan. 10, 2007 Lucas entered the Army. Two
years later in January 2009, he was deployed to Iraq for the
first time with the 810th Military Police Company and saw
duty in Camp Liberty and Camp Basra supporting Operation
Iraqi Freedom. In March 2011, he volunteered again to deploy
to Iraq with the 805th Military Police Company for Operation
"He dedicated himself to his country
then," his father, Ed Elliott, said of his decision to
serve. "He stuck to it."
Lucas, as Spc. Elliott was
known, didn't have to go on the second deployment it was the
service that drove the Eagle Scout to volunteer again.
The ceremony itself was standing room only as soldiers,
family, friends and community members gathered to remember
Lucas. Two major generals, like-minded commanders, both
spoke of a soldier's service and the strength that comes
from family and how it strengthens the nation. They talked
of the remembrance of our heroes and how it reflects in our
Maj. Gen. Gill Beck, commanding
general of the 81st Regional Support Command, spoke to
family saying, "I know what it's like to love a son, but I
don't know what it's like to lose a son."
concluded by saying, "From here forward as soldiers enter
into this building they will have a model, an image, of what
it means to be committed to our Army, committed to our
nation and what it truly means to be a soldier and a member
of the profession of arms."
Maj. Gen. Sanford
Holman, commanding general of the 200th Military Police
Command, highlighted the community strength represented in
the large attendance at the event. He acknowledged the
Elliott family's resilience and how community contributed to
it. "The way that the unit and community have surrounded
[the Elliott family] just sends chills up and down my
spine," he said.
Mayor Harold Weinbrecht told the
audience that it was his honor to be in the midst of so many
heroes saying that being part of the ceremony was very
"Like many citizens, I didn't serve in the
armed forces," he said. "But there is not a day that goes by
that I don't benefit from the sacrifices of the people in
this room and the men and women all around the world who
risk their lives every day so I can be free and enjoy a
Although he didn't personally know
Lucas he had the opportunity to meet the family and hear
stories from those with whom he was close.
of this town, I am truly honored to have this facility named
after somebody that embodies what it means to give service
to everyone else, he said."
The reality of Lucas' the
person, however, was spoken by his brother, Brad Elliott,
who spoke of the man, his service and memory.
measure of a man is not hinged on what he does while he's
here walking with us," he said. "But yet it's what's being
done for him or because of him after he's gone."
Judging by the crowd at the proceedings, it was obvious that
Lucas had contributed a lot to the community in a little
over two decades of life. He was described as someone who
would go a mile just to save you a step.
literally give you the shirt off his back," Brad said. "I've
seen him do it."
Brad shared a couple specific
memories of his brother that brought smiles and a lighter
spirit to an otherwise somber occasion. Stories of their
youth, hunting and fishing and family that were also a
reflection of the young soldier's love of life and the
outdoors. Brad was certain that anyone who knew his brother
had fond memories of him also and he encouraged everyone to
always think of him that way. He felt that his brother's
biggest passion was being outdoors no matter what he was
"This is a great honor for my brother, my
family and all his friends. It's an honor that leaves our
souls well fed and our hearts left with plenty of pride."
A poem was read by Jessica Dickens, the daughter of a
soldier who had served with Elliott previously but was still
deployed and could not attend the ceremony.
accounts, Lucas was the ideal citizen-soldier.
Jonathan Merck, who served with him and was present the day
he died said of him, "He knew his job, he knew it well. I
was very confident in him and his abilities."
was probably one of the best soldiers we had in our unit,"
said Cpl. Eric Hickey. "He was also the first there and
always volunteered for everything." He said that the
memorialization was a good way to remember one the best. "He
was a good friend," Hickey added. He was really nice and
always meant what he said."
"He was about as good a
soldier as I could ask for," said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Jones,
Elliott's squad leader on his second deployment. "I could
rely on him to do pretty much anything I asked. You couldn't
ask for a better soldier."
It was Jones that had
initially mentioned some form of memorialization for Lucas
to 81st RSC leadership during a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration
event in Concord, N.C. "I think it's really fitting," he
said. "It's really the least that we could do."
the ceremony, his mother, Patti spoke with WTVD, the ABC
affiliate in Cary. "It's a tangible place that I can go and
know that everybody who comes here remembers him when
they're here," she told reporter Sheyenne Rodriguez.
"The Army Reserve family has been phenomenal, "she said.
"And to know that they went this extra step to make this
happen really means a lot."
She says that she tries
to honor her son's memory every day by serving other
"He would be so upset if he thought I was
crying every day," she said.
The Elliott family and
the troops who know them and knew Lucas are hoping that the
dedication of the building will serve as an inspiration to
"His mission is complete, " Patti said. "God
was though with him, He was not through with us, so we need
to make sure that we live everyday to put greatest
"We've just got to remember that he's
still with us," Brad said. "He's just got a lot better view
than we do now days."
All the photos associated with Army
reserve center dedicated to fallen SPC Daniel Elliott in frame below
By U.S. Army SFC Joel Quebec
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