- The Washington Times - Monday, November 8, 2004

Gregg Garvey sat on his porch, clutching a photograph of his son and trying to come to terms with the news that the 23-year-old soldier was killed in an ambush in Iraq.

The father sat for hours, his cheeks wet with tears, staring at a flagpole in the yard of his Keystone Heights, Fla., home. He wondered how he would survive the overwhelming grief, and how many other parents had the same empty feeling.

Slowly, an image came to him, the image of a monument at the base of the flagpole. Then it became clearer: It was a statue of a field cross — a soldier’s helmet atop a downturned M-16. He could see his son’s name, Army Sgt. Justin “Hobie” Garvey, on it. Then he could see more monuments with more names.

“I just looked at the picture of Hobie,” recalls the 50-year-old father, “and said, ‘Hobie, we’ve got a lot of work to do.’”

As the country honors its military this Veterans Day, for many it will be a time to recall the ultimate sacrifice of the more than 1,100 troops killed in Iraq. Across the country, communities, friends and family members are creating scores of special memorials.

There are streets, buildings, even a ship and a mountain peak renamed for fallen soldiers.

In honor of his son, killed July 20, 2003, near Tal Afar, Iraq, Mr. Garvey has pledged to erect a bronze field cross statue in the hometown of every soldier killed in Iraq.

To date, Mr. Garvey’s project, www.lesttheybeforgotten.com, has raised enough money through donations and the sales of flags for seven statues, at a cost of $7,500 each.

“Everybody deals with grief their own way. I’m not going to dwell on what could have been. My son would not have wanted me to feel sorry for myself,” he said. “It’s going to work. I just hit 50 years old. My grandfather just turned 100 this year. I have another 50 years to get this done.”

Across the country, other new memorials appear in varied types, but all stir deep feelings.

In Dartmouth, Mass., outside the town hall, officials dedicated a black granite bench inscribed with the name of Army Sgt. Peter Enos, who was killed in April 2003 in Bayji when his patrol vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Deborah Enos, 59, and her husband, Gerald, attended the dedication of the bench.

“I’ve been back once or twice,” the mother said. “It just brings sadness right now. I know the town did it with the best of intentions. But it’s too much for us right now.

“We don’t know how to go through it. We do a moment at a time.”

Thousands of miles away in Katy, Texas, the parents of Army 1st Lt. Jonathan Rozier regularly drive by a building bearing their son’s name: the American Legion Post. It was renamed for Lt. Rozier, who was killed July 19, 2003, when his unit was attacked while providing security at a municipal building in Baghdad.

“It allows his name and his memory to go on,” said his mother, Barbara Rozier. “Someday somebody’s gonna ask, ‘Who is Jonathan Rozier?’ The story can be told about who he was and what he did.”

The story also can be told in Holiday, Fla., where a post office was renamed in honor of Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, who was killed in combat near the Baghdad airport on April 4, 2003. Sgt. Smith was 33.

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