- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 11, 2009

From combined dispatches

FORT LEWIS, Wash. | Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. says seven Fort Lewis soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan last month were extraordinary young men to whom the nation owes more than it can repay.

“As a nation, as hollow as it sounds to say, we grieve with you. We don’t have profound sense of grief you’re experiencing today, but we grieve with you, and we owe you. We owe you more than you can ever be repaid,” Mr. Biden said, according to the Seattle Times.

Mr. Biden spoke at the Washington base Tuesday as about 500 people gathered to honor the soldiers — the most honored in a single Fort Lewis service since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

“Someday, God willing, there will be some consolation you’ll find in the knowledge that your son, your husband, your brother, your father, gave his life in the pursuit of the noblest of all earthly goals, defending his family, defending his country, defending and fighting for what he believed in,” he said.

The vice president said the willingness to fight and die for one’s country was the value being marked at Fort Lewis and Fort Hood, Texas, and on Veterans Day. He made no other references to the killings at Fort Hood, where President Obama spoke Tuesday. With two other soldiers killed Monday, the 5th Stryker Brigade at Fort Lewis has lost 28 since being deployed to Afghanistan in July.

The soldiers memorialized Tuesday were Pfc. Ian Walz of Vancouver, Wash.; Staff Sgt. Luis M. Gonzalez of South Ozone Park, N.Y.; Sgt. Fernando Delarosa of Alamo, Texas; Sgt. Dale R. Griffin of Terre Haute, Ind.; Sgt. Issac B. Jackson of Plattsburg, Mo.; Sgt. Patrick O. Williamson of Broussard, La.; and Spc. Jared D. Stanker of Evergreen Park, Ill.

A line of seven M-16 rifles, decorated with dogs tags, helmets and boots stood at the front of the chapel, with framed color photographs of the soldiers at the left.

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