Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seven months ago, a Montgomery County native, Marine Sgt. James R. McIlvaine, was killed while supporting combat operations in Anbar province in Iraq. Friday night, his citations were read aloud to his family and friends as 65 fallen servicemen were honored in the Remembering the Brave Ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, less than three miles from the Quantico Marine Base where McIlvaine once served.

Suspended aircraft, etched granite walls, photos of lost loved ones and mounted uniforms provided a fitting backdrop for a night that was about remembering, not mourning, according to Lt. Col. Steve Beck, founder of the Remembering the Brave foundation and ceremonies.

“The ideas of freedom are certainly larger than any of us,” Col. Beck said in regard to the sacrifices made by men and women who serve in the military and the families they leave behind.

Fifty-nine families were given posthumous medals, freedom certificates and a yellow rose for each year of service contributed by their fallen loved ones. The ceremony and foundation are as much about honoring the families as they are about honoring the servicemen, according to Col. Beck.

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