For JBLM, honoring fallen heroes is a year-round effort

JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. -- JBLM makes an effort to honor its fallen heroes not just on Memorial Day, but year-round.

For Gold Star families who feel the personal pain of loss everyday, JBLM's Memorial Park is 4.2 acres of remembrance.

“It was just like yesterday, ” Gold Star Wife Lisa Hallett managed through tears.

The pain is still fresh for Lisa Hallett, who lost her husband, Capt. John Hallett III, 10 years ago in combat in Afghanistan.

That's 10 Memorial Days without her husband. For her three children, 10 Memorial Days without their father.

“There is something so scary when you lose your loved one that you will be forgotten and your loved one will be forgotten, and so it’s very meaningful and very special to stand surrounded by my husband’s unit and know that he’s remembered and we are not forgotten,” Hallett said.

On this day (May 22, 2019), the 4,400 soldiers that make up the 2-2 SBCT Second Stryker Lancer Brigade wanted to ensure Captain Hallett and the families of their 56 other fallen brothers and sisters are not forgotten this Memorial Day.

“We are truly humbled by your sacrifice and no doubt we can all see the warrior spirit of your beloved heroes in your personal strength, resilience to your communities and fellow Gold Star families,” Col. Jonathan M. Chung to the audience from his podium.

This is the 5th  Annual Lancer Memorial Day Ceremony to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while in service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

“It’s something we don’t get to do often enough I feel like. It’s really a great time for especially newer guys, guys haven’t been around in the service, to really get the bigger picture about everything the army and encompasses in terms of sacrifice,” Specialist Richard Caldwell explained.

When you ask these brave souls why they risk their lives, some will say they do it for country and others will say they do it for their families, but they all share a common purpose.

“A unified cause to stand united in harm’s way not for the glory or the fame, but for those who are serving to their left and right, willing to face evil anywhere in the world,” Col. Jonathan M. Chung said with pride.

The sounds of tribute could be heard throughout the base, but it was the quiet moments that truly capture what this day meant to the Gold Star families.

“Those names up there are our friends, they’re not just names to us and every service member is not just a name or number, it’s just like my John or somebody else‘s John out there. And so it’s very meaningful and so important that we take time on Memorial Day to say their names and learn their stories and know that we have an opportunity to live inspired by the life that they lead,” Hallett added.