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In military town, Memorial Day has extra meaning

Posted May 27

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— For the military community of Fayetteville, Memorial Day weekend is about more than cookouts and beaches. It's about honoring the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Outside the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, a field of flags Friday offered a very visual reminder that freedom isn't free. Each flag was purchased and placed in honor of a serviceman or woman, past or present. The impressive display of pride and sacrifice will remain on display through June 24.

Also on Friday, the museum unveiled a new tribute to the Army's deactivated 73rd Armor Regiment, a stone that lists members of the unit who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Command Sgt. John Troxell was on hand to remember Cpl. Brandon Craig.

"He was my radio operator when I was a Striker Brigade Command Sergeant Major in 2007," Troxell said. "We were hit by an explosive form penetrator, an Iranian improvised explosive device, and on the 19th of July in 2007 he was killed in action.”

Lester Lowe, who served once as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and now as a deputy with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, was present to remember a colleague.

"God bless America for what we have done and for those who went before us. It's just an honor to be here today with these guys right here," he said.

Memorial Day celebrations and commemorations offer an opportunity to teach a new generation about the sacrifices of serving. Brandley Sosebee, whose father serves in Special Operations, visited the museum Friday with classmates Wake Christian Academy in Raleigh.

“Memorial Day means to me saluting what our soldiers have done for us in the past and what they will do in the future, and just thanking them for it,” he said.

Fayetteville's official Memorial Day ceremony is planned for Monday at Freedom Memorial Park.


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