Bliss honors fallen , Memorial Day ceremony
draws hundreds from community
Hundreds of veterans, current servicemembers, and friends and family members of both attended the Memorial Day ceremony Monday at Fort Bliss National Cemetery to honor those who died defending our freedom.
Following the massing of the colors, the National Anthem, an invocation from Fort Bliss Chaplain Col. Ronald Huggler and a 21-gun national salute by Fort Bliss Soldiers, Fort Bliss Commanding General Maj. Gen. Howard Bromberg provided the keynote speech.
“Memorial Day is a time for remembering the many Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Sailors, Coast Guard members and civil servants who helped deploy to combat and serve our great nation,” said Bromberg. “It is a time to contemplate the great deeds and enormous sacrifices so many have made in defense of our nation, and it’s a time to express our gratitude to those who paid the ultimate price so that we can enjoy our freedoms.”
Flowers adorned certain grave markers, but one American flag adorned each gravestone throughout the cemetery. Bromberg remarked how he felt awed by the immensity of knowing how many fallen heroes and patriots have their final resting place at the cemetery.
“The servicemembers we honor today came from all walks of life, but they shared universal qualities inherent in those brave enough to serve their nation,” Bromberg said. “Those qualities of courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity are what define a hero.”
Bromberg singled out one such hero, Cpl. Gary Moore, a 25-year-old military policeman who paid the ultimate price March 16 while deployed to Iraq with the 978th Military Police Company – but insisted on describing who Moore was in further detail than would a casualty report or a basic newspaper article.
“He was helping his fiancé plan their wedding while he was deployed,” said Bromberg. “They were scheduled to be married in a small, red brick church in Oklahoma City later this year. Instead, his funeral was held in that same church. Just three days before he died, they talked about wedding plans via an Internet camera and blew kisses to each other before signing off.”
Bromberg said that Moore, who ran track and field, played football and loved to make people laugh, was deeply religious and left behind his parents, two brothers and a sister. He said Moore’s parents and friends, despite losing him, talked about “how much he loved serving his country and how much he loved being a military policeman.”
“Yes, he was anxious to come home, as with any young Soldier ready to start the next stage of his life and marriage, but he still loved what he was doing every single day,” said Bromberg. “That’s why we are all gathered here this morning – to remember people like Corporal Moore.
“I know many of you here today can relate personally to that thought by substituting a name of someone you care about who was lost,” he said. “There are so many just like Corporal Moore both in today’s conflict and the past.”
Bromberg also recognized those in the audience who currently serve, who have served, or who have family members serving by giving them a chance to stand. He was then joined by Fort Bliss National Cemetery Director Cindy Van Bibber, who also spoke during the ceremony, to emplace the ceremonial wreath to honor all fallen servicemembers. The ceremony concluded with an honor guard rifle volley of three shots, a playing of Echo Taps and the retiring of colors.