The last Sunday of September is designated by Presidential Proclamation as Gold Star Mothers and Family Day, and Fort Detrick’s leadership gathered at the Fort Detrick Auditorium Sept. 13 to pay tribute to the deceased and to the survivors of the fallen.
“Many of those we honor today paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives defending the ideals of freedom and justice,” said Col. Robert O’Brien IV, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick commander.
“Many lived a full life and nonetheless sacrificed of themselves until well after their time in uniform ended. But today it is important for us to see these families gathered before us and recognize all that is great about the United States of America,” said O’Brien.
“On the street outside are over 70 placards and American flags, each representing a fallen Frederick community Soldier. This visible tribute is but a small token of appreciation for your sacrifice,” said Maj. Gen. Brian C. Lein, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick, as he addressed the crowd.
“Earlier this week we recognized the service and sacrifice of those that died in the horrific attacks of Sept. 11…which prompted yet another call to arms for our military, over 6.800 military men and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Lein.
“We see their pictures and hold their memories dearly in our hearts and in our minds. In their children, we catch glimpses of their eyes, their mannerisms of speech and special quirks, we read and reread the mail and keep special care packages forever in memory of them. It is our commitment and honor to recognize the families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We can never replace them, but keeping their legacy alive and paying tribute to their loss will keep them at the forefront of our memory,” said Lein.
“The Army, on behalf of a grateful nation salutes you, our American Gold Star Families. You are, and always will be, members of the great Army family. The Army, the city and county of Frederick, along with a grateful nation, recognizes your courage and is committed to support you while honoring the legacy of the fallen,” said Lein.