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Tears, Vows To Remember As Permanent Memorial Unveiled At JBLM

As a decade of war winds down, Joint Base Lewis-McChord is adding to a memorial park for the fallen.

Friday a military police brigade at the base near Tacoma dedicated a permanent remembrance to 29 soldiers killed in action.

Cold and fog lingered over the crowed as the black, granite memorial was unveiled. Engraved on it are the names of the 29 fallen members of the 42nd Military Police Brigade. They were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2011.

JBLM Commander Lt. General Robert Brown paid tribute.

“Frankly they’ve allowed the vast majority of our nation to live normal lives while they and their families live lives of service and sacrifice,” he said.

As the names were read one-by-one, Debbie Ward listened. In a crowd of black, she stood out in pink shirtsleeves with her son’s dog tags around her neck. When she heard her son’s name.

Her face crumpled, the tears flowed. Afterwards, Ward placed a flower on the memorial. Her son was killed in 2008 in Iraq. He had just turned 19.

“That was my only son, my baby," she said. "I don’t want him forgotten.”

 A color guard flanks a new memorial to 29 members of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord military police brigade killed in action between 2003 and 2011.
Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network
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Northwest News Network
A color guard flanks a new memorial to 29 members of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord military police brigade killed in action between 2003 and 2011.
 Debbie Ward stands next to a new Joint Base Lewis-McChord memorial that includes the name of her son, PFC Aaron Ward, who was killed in Iraq in 2008.
Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network
/
Northwest News Network
Debbie Ward stands next to a new Joint Base Lewis-McChord memorial that includes the name of her son, PFC Aaron Ward, who was killed in Iraq in 2008.

Copyright 2013 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."