The ceremonies were held in view of the majestic Colorado Rockies
Kit Carson Park
Preparing for the uncasing of the Brigade and Battalion/Squadron colors
COL George and CSM Sasser uncase the 4-4 Brigade colors
4-4 Brigade Colors uncased
Battalions and Squadrons uncasing
Battalions and Squadrons uncased
After the uncasing was completed we moved solemnly into the Memorial Ceremony for the 40 Fallen Heroes.
Brigade Commander, COL George and CSM Sasser laid a wreath at the Fallen Soldiers Memorial
CSM Sasser and COL George place the wreath
CSM Sasser and COL George saluting the Fallen
COL George made some incredibly heartfelt remarks to the Gold Star families, friends and members of the community who had gathered along with hundreds of the Mountain Warrior Soldiers in attendance. Then a bag piper began to play
The Honor Guard began to move forward. One by one the names of each of the 40 Fallen Heroes was called. As each name was called one of the members of the Honor Guard moved forward to the wreath and gave a slow salute to honor their fallen comrade as the bag piper continued to play
The Honor Guard
The Memorial stone engraved with the names of the 40 Fallen Heroes from 4-4's recent deployment
After each of the fallen had been remembered the three volleys were fired and TAPS was played.
I have never attended a Memorial Ceremony as well done as this one was. It was honorable, moving and meaningful with just the right "touch" of military tradition.
After the ceremonies were concluded the families of the Fallen were given time to spend at the wall where their loved ones names are etched. A luncheon was then held for the Gold Star family members.
I was invited to attend the luncheon. I met several of the 3-61 CAV survivors of COP Keating who were escorts to the Gold Star families. One of the men I met was "DOC" Cordova. While there are numerous stories of Valor from that day I had remembered reading one about "DOC" Cordova directly transfusing his own blood into a Wounded Soldier in an attempt to keep him alive until the Wounded Soldier could be medevaced. Honor doesn't begin to describe how I felt meeting "DOC" Cordova. Very humble, very well spoken, very self effacing.
I'm not sure about the other units but the Gold Star family members of 3-61 CAV were invited back to the unit. Four of the families of their Fallen were presented with valor awards they had not yet received for their Soldiers. Quite an emotional time. All of the family members were invited to spend as much time as they needed/wanted talking with the Soldiers who served with their loved ones and the officers, too.