South Plains community remembers fallen heroes - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/25/09

South Plains community remembers fallen heroes

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By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - As folks wrapped up the Memorial Day weekend and prepared for the work week ahead, local veterans reminded people to keep our service men and women in their thoughts. Ceremonies across the South Plains honored the nation's fallen heroes and those currently serving in the military.

"It's been a tough time, but equally rewarding," Army Major Phillip Poteet said.  After two deployments to Iraq, and the loss of fellow soldiers, Poteet and his family know all to well the meaning of Memorial Day. "It validates what we do. When people show appreciation for what we do, you don't always hear that," Major Poteet said. 

"Having lost friends and soldiers ourselves, this honestly, it's a hard day, but a good day to see the support in remembrance of everything that those soldiers have done for us," Stefanie Poteet said.  Army veteran, and Lubbock native Lieutenant General William Murphy spoke about the sacrifice.  "Since it began in 1868, Memorial Day, originally known as Declaration Day, has been set aside to honor the memory of these patriots who serve their country in a time of need, some of whom have the full measure of devotion," Murphy said. 

"I'm telling you folks I hope we never forget, because that would be the greatest injustice to forget what people have done for us," State District Judge Sam Medina said.  To honor the more than 2,000 veterans buried at the City of Lubbock Cemetery, local scouts placed small, American Flags at their graves.

For the Poteets the small tribute had a larger significance.  "Children that young, the scouts, learning the meaning of today and what those soldiers went through to provide the future they're going to have, I think that's really great," Stefanie Poteet said.  "I think it's really great to see the turnout in a city like Lubbock where there's no longer a military base. It really shows the support of the community," Major Poteet said. 

At Resthaven Memorial Gardens, community members paid further tribute. Guest speaker Dan G. Druen addressed community members at the service. Druen is an Army veteran and was recruited to serve in the prestigious Third Infantry Regiment. He also served as a member of the elite guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Afterwards, local veterans told NewsChannel 11 what Memorial Day means to them.  "It's an opportunity to pay tribute to those who have gone before me and have given me the opportunity to serve my country and to live in freedom," Sergeant Major Michael Slentz said. 

"I just wish that we would take more time to do this, because no on knows what these people have gone through that have died for our country," VFW 2466 Chaplain Chuck Fisher said. 

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America Supports You
America Supports You is a communications initiative managed by the Officeof Community Relations in the Department of Defense that recognizes citizen support for our military men and women and communicates that support to members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad.

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