Hundreds Gather In Killeen To Remember The Fallen

(Photo by Nick Delgado)
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KILLEEN (May 26, 2014) Lena Brown cried when she saw her husband's name among others etched in a granite stone at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery Monday morning as hundreds gathered at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery to pay tribute to the fallen.

Staff Sgt. Kevin R. Brown, 38, of Harrah, Okla., died Sept. 25, 2007, in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, of wounds he received when a homemade bomb exploded near his vehicle.

He was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division’s 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

"The most memorable moment that I have is I've been married to him for 15 years," Brown said.

"The love that he had for this country, the love for what he for God, love for his family...he was one funny man,” she recalled.

The couple had been together for nearly two decades before he died.

"He was leader, a caretaker, and now he is our protector," she said.

A new memorial was unveiled Monday next the one on which Brown's name appears, that included the names and photos of three more Central Texas soldiers.

The black granite monuments, an additional one of which is dedicated each Memorial Day at the cemetery, honor soldiers from Central Texas who have given their lives since 2003 in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On one side of each seven-foot stone, the names of the soldiers who died during that year are listed and the photos of the fallen have been photo-etched on the reverse side.

Monday family members mourned as the community honored Spc. Ember Alt, 1st Lt. Jason Togi, and Sgt. Lyle Turnbill who died while deployed in 2013.

Alt, 21, a 2009 graduate of Killeen High School, who led the school’s 4x400 relay team to the state track meet that same year, was among four soldiers killed in June 2013 in a rocket attack in Afghanistan.

Togi, 24, of Pago Pago, American Samoa, died of injuries he suffered in an attack in August 2013 Afghanistan.

Turnbill, 31, of Norfolk, Va., who was assigned to Fort Hood’s 62nd Expeditionary Signal Bn, 11th Signal Bde, died in October 2013 after he collapsed following a workout at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

"For those of us in uniform it's a very special day, but it's beyond just the day," said Lt. General Mark Milley, Fort Hood commanding general.

"We have to remember that freedom comes at a price and they come at a price of blood and sacrifice. It's not free and we should remember them every single day."

More than 600 fallen Central Texas military service members received special recognition, and were honored this year.