100th Memorial Tree Dedicated In Memory of Fallen Soldiers

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As Memorial Day Approaches, Soldiers’ Angels Honors America’s Fallen War Heroes by Donating 100th Living Legend Tree

Military history is replete with time honored traditions. None are more sacred than those which honor a country’s military dead. The military code of “leave no man behind” insures a soldier that his sacrifice will be honored from the moment he dies on the battlefield and that his remains will be treated with the dignity and respect accorded a brother in arms. In every conflict there are examples of soldiers honoring these traditions, sometimes with their own lives. In Afghanistan, Sgt. John Chapman and five of his fellow soldiers were killed by enemy fire while they worked to recover the body of Navy Seal, Petty Officer Neil Roberts. Sgt. Chapman’s is but one story, the plot of which has been repeated almost every time men rise against each other with the force of arms.

The honored bestowed upon America’s military dead does not end with the respect of the soldiers who served with them on the battlefield, but continues until their remains are returned to their families and they are buried. The remains of each soldier killed in battle is accompanied home by a fellow soldier whose duty is to ensure that his comrade is treated with respect and honor. In April, 2004 LtCol M.R. Stobl, USMC escorted the remains of PFC C. Phelps, USMC home to Dubois, Wyoming. Lt.Col Stobl related a tale of respect for the deceased soldier which was exhibited by everyone he encountered on the long procession; from the airline baggage handlers to flight attendants and fellow passenger to students at the highschool the young marine had attended before joining the Marine Corp. The remains of unidentified soldiers are accorded the special honor of being remembered in Arlington National Cemetery by a twenty-four hour guard.

In keeping with the tradition of honor and respect for those soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending their country, Soldiers’ Angels, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping soldiers and their families, has instituted a project called Living Legends. The project was formed to bring caring messages of comfort to the family members of fallen soldiers and to honor the soldier’s memory. One aspect of Living Legends is the donation of a memorial tree to the families of soldiers who have died in the service of their country . The hope is that the tree will grow and flourish, giving the family and friends a living monument to the bravery and heroism of their loved one. Soldiers’ Angels has recently donated the 100th Living Legend to the family of a fallen soldier. Cathy Woodruff, the team leader of the Living Legends project says, “The team has tried to express the sorrow and grief that we know all Americans feel for the loss of our precious and beloved soldiers. So many have sacrificed for our freedoms, we hope this helps to ensure that we never forget what it takes to keep our liberties.”

Continuing the tradition of civilian support of American soldiers, Soldiers’ Angels sponsors programs which provide aid to American soldiers and their families. In addition to the Living Legends Project, Soldiers’ Angels’ programs include first responder packs, support, and laptop computers to wounded soldiers who are receiving treatment at American military hospitals; care packages, letters, and support to deployed soldiers; armored blankets to military ambulances; and items shipped for deployed soldiers to give children in the war zone.

If you would like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with Patti Patton-Bader, please call Don Mackay at (615)676-0239.

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Don MacKay
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