MITCHELLVILLE, Md.-Lt. Col. Mike Corrado, an operations officer with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, plays the guitar and sings to the best of his ability for the families of the fallen at the American Heroes Festival July 24, 2010. Corrado currently serves his country inside and outside of the military., Lance Cpl. Jacob D. Osborne
||MITCHELLVILLE, Md. (MCN -7/28/2010) — Marines welcomed
hundreds of Gold Star families to the national capital
region recently for the Families United Weekend of
Remembrance July 23-24.
“This weekend, America has shown they will comfort and
support these families,” said Gunnery Sgt. William Dixon, a
funeral director for the Marine Corps.
More than 2,000 Gold Star family members attended a banquet
held in their honor, visited Arlington National Cemetery and
enjoyed a day at Six Flags.
“We wanted to show that they still have family,” said Lance
Cpl. Teddrick Johnson, a Miami native who volunteered for
the event. “We're still here for them.”
Several Marines from Marine Barracks Washington helped the
healing process for all of the families, especially the ones
who lost their loved leathernecks in Iraq and Afghanistan,
said Robert Derga, whose son, Cpl. Dustin Derga, died in
Iraq in 2005 while serving with Company L, 3rd Battalion,
25th Marine Regiment.
“I'm very proud Dustin is part of that legacy,” he said.
Derga, who serves as a board member on Military Families
United, one of the sponsors for the weekend, added that
gatherings like this give Gold Star families a chance to
“Our friends and family don't always understand when we
laugh one minute and cry the next,” he said. “Weekends like
this show we're not alone, and what we are experiencing is
|Johnson, an administrative clerk with Headquarters and
Service Company, said one of the reasons he volunteered to
help out involved his family's history with the Marine
“There's a tradition of support,” he said. “I do this
because I know that if something happens to me, there will
be Marines who will come support my [family].”
The Families United Weekend of Remembrance ended with a
concert by country singer Aaron Tippin and Lt. Col. Mike
Corrado, operations commander for U.S. Marine Corps Forces,
Pacific. Corrado, an accomplished musician who has opened
for Bon Jovi, The Black Eyed Peas and John Mayer, traveled
several thousand miles from Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii, just
Gold Star family members show their appreciation
during a concert held in their honor July 24, 2010,
at Six Flags America in Mitchellville, Md. The
concert was part of Families United Weekend of
Remembrance, a weekend dedicated to bringing Gold
Star families together and recognize the sacrifices
of their family members. Photo by LCpl. Benjamin Harris
“To be able to help be part of the healing process is
humbling,” Corrado said.