TOP STORY > >Area stops to remember the fallen
Arkansans stopped and remembered the nation’s war dead Monday at commemorations across the state for Memorial Day.
Families brought flags and flowers to lay next to headstones.
Locally, more than 300 people gathered at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock for a ceremony that included a rifle salute and several attendees throwing floating wreathes into a nearby pond to remember those lost at sea.
Flags lined the road leading down to where Gov. Mike Beebe told those gathered that the hardest thing to do as the state’s top executive is call those who have lost loved ones in war.
“We pay tribute not only to the men and women who have ever worn a uniform, not only the men and women who have given their life to this country, but their families as well,” Beebe said. “We pay tribute not only to those people who lie in the ground as a hero, but we pay tribute to their families who every bit as much sacrificed and served for their country.”
Also attending were Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Maj. Gen. Bill Wofford of the Arkansas National Guard and Gen. Rowayne Schatz, commander at Little Rock Air Force Base, and the Patriot Guard.
They joined veterans and their families, a handful of Gold Star Wives and military leaders. The event, normally held at the Little Rock National Cemetery, was moved to the Arkansas State Veterans’ Cemetery this year and combined with the Navy Bells ceremony normally held at the Broadway Bridge in Little Rock.
The 106th Army Band performed the National Anthem before Beebe spoke. The governor put a final wreath in place after giving his remarks.
A Navy Bells ceremony was performed and families of those lost at sea placed wreaths in the cemetery’s pond. Students from Sylvan Hills EAST Lab were recognized for their efforts in mapping the cemetery so that graves can be found more easily.
Four Arkansans serving in the armed forces have died in Afghanistan since the start of the war there in 2001. Fifty-eight
Arkansans serving in the military have died since the start of the Iraq war in 2003.
Among the area fallen are 1st Lt. Thomas M. Martin, 27, 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Re-giment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Ward, died Oct. 14, 2007; Staff Sgt. John T. Self, 29, 314th Security Forces Squadron, 314th Mission Support Group, 314th Airlift Wing Little Rock AFB, Pontotoc, Miss., died May 14, 2007; Spc. Bobby R. West, 23, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th In-fantry Division, Beebe, died May 30, 2006; Lance Cpl. Steven A. Valdez, 20, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, McRae, died Sept. 26, 2005; Spc. Phillip N. Sayles, 26, Company B, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Jacksonville, died May 28, 2005; Spc. Tyler L. Creamean, 21, 73rd Engineer Company, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Jacksonville, died of May 22, 2005, and Sgt. Ronald W. Baker, 34, Company C, 39th Support Battalion, Arkansas Army National Guard, Cabot, died Oct. 13, 2004.