Wall of Honor, One Spot Left

MIA

That’s Miami International Airport, not Missing In Action, though it could apply.

I was walking through the airport yesterday, something I have done many times, when I (finally) noticed what is a very public war memorial, dedicated to Miami/Dade area soldiers who have died since 9/11 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

IMG_1221

It’s right in the center of everything and therefore very easy to miss.

Early in the 20th-century when the McMillan Commission were trying to select a suitable spot for the yet-to-be-built Lincoln Memorial in DC, it was suggested that it be placed at a busy spot right between Union Station and the Capitol.

A member said that would be a mistake as everyone would walk right by it, that it needed to be out-of-the-way so that it required effort to get there.

I think they were right.

The US, and the world, for that matter, have thousands of war memorials, very often in town squares, big and small.

War Memorial, Connecticut

War Memorial, Connecticut

MIA, perhaps a 21-century town square, is certainly in the center of things.

The Wall is about 25 feet long and made from dark granite or marble with ten columns total, each with room for twelve names.

The first nine columns are full and the last has room for only one more.

119 names.

There are four soldiers aged 19.

Steven E. Wyatt, the first of those four to be killed “was in a convoy that was hit by an improvised explosive device and small arms fire in Balad, Iraq. He was assigned to C Battery, 1st Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.”

PFC Stephen Wyatt

PFC Stephen Wyatt

Sergeant First Class Joseph McKay was the oldest at 51.  “He died from wounds sustained near Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, when his convoy encountered improvised explosive devices, small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

SFC Joseph McKay

SFC Joseph McKay

Another name, Eggers, jumped off the Wall.

Captain Daniel W. Eggers “died in Kandahar after the vehicle he was riding in struck a land mine.”

Captain Daniel W. Eggers

Captain Daniel W. Eggers

Alan Eggers, perhaps a long-ago namesake, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  He “earned the Medal of Honor in World War I while serving in Machine Gun Company, 107th Infantry, 27th Division, at Le Catelet, France, on September 29, 1918.”

Sgt. Alan Eggers

Sgt. Alan Eggers

If not related in fact, they are in valor.

On Bravery

On the flight down from Washington I brought along two recent issues of Outside magazine to pass the time.

It didn’t take much time though, as Outside is full of ads for expensive gadgets and gear and all but empty of anything worth reading.

I noticed, with irritation, that the motto, printed just below the title, is “Live Bravely” an apparent exhortation to well-heeled adventurers to be careful with their caramel macchiato brewed and sipped cliff-side.

If words are what we make of them, then bravery is still largely and rightly associated with selflessness surely and heroism probably.

Those 119 soldiers on that Wall lived bravely and surely died the very same way.

Remember, Honor, Pass It On

 

 

 

4 Comments

  • Russ Preble says:

    Eric, If I am not mistaken Alan Eggers grave is about 2/3 up the hill on the way to the Tomb of the Unknowns. I usually stop and point out his grave and tell how he hid a couple of wounded soldiers in a fox hole surround by German troops and kept them hidden until rescued.
    Russ

  • Mike Schwartz says:

    Eric, great piece to remind us to be grateful for those men and women who gave of themselves, literally, and that we must honor their sacrifice by ensuring that Trump, who likes his heroes apparently alive and not prisoners of war, does what he said he would do to improve our the VA system.

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