Since the war began, more than 1,500 soldiers have lost their lives. 144 of those killed have been Texans and three called the South Plains home.
The center walls of the Lubbock Area Veteran's War Memorial are reserved for those killed in action. The South Plains has lost three soldiers to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Chad Bales of Muleshoe and Israel Garza and Freddy Velez, both of Lubbock. Velez's was killed last November, and his name will be added to the wall soon.
On Friday, a wreath was laid to honor the sacrifice that families of veterans make. Karen Spears Zacharias, author of Hero Mama attended the wreath ceremony. Zacharias lost her father in Vietnam and says families who lose a soldier in war are just as much heroes as those who died.
On Saturday, sorrow will turn into celebration as 18 Lubbock marines are welcomed home from Iraq. The reserve center will host a lunch for the marines and their families.
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Lubbock Area Veterans War Memorial Index