Tears, Vows To Remember As Permanent Memorial Unveiled At JBLM

By Austin Jenkins

As a decade of war winds down, Joint Base Lewis-McChord is adding to a memorial park for the fallen. Friday a military police brigade at the base near Tacoma dedicated a permanent remembrance to 29 soldiers killed in action.

Cold and fog lingered over the crowed as the black, granite memorial was unveiled. Engraved on it are the names of the 29 fallen members of the 42nd Military Police Brigade. They were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2011. JBLM Commander Lt. General Robert Brown paid tribute.

Robert Brown: “Frankly they’ve allowed the vast majority of our nation to live normal lives while they and their families live lives of service and sacrifice.”

As the names were read one-by-one, Debbie Ward listened. In a crowd of black, she stood out in pink shirtsleeves with her son’s dog tags around her neck. When she heard her son’s name.

Announcer: “PFC Aaron J. Ward.”

Her face crumpled, the tears flowed. Afterwards, Ward placed a flower on the memorial. Her son was killed in 2008 in Iraq. He had just turned 19.

Debbie Ward: “That was my only son, my baby. I don’t want him forgotten.”

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