COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Fort Benning pauses to pay tribute to its fallen comrades. A ceremony was held at the main post cemetery Monday morning commemorating the life and legacy of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Major General Michael Ferriter, Commander, Maneuver Center of Excellence, told the crowd that 13 Fort Benning soldiers have died in combat since Memorial Day last year and since he took office.
Ferriter was the keynote speaker for the ceremony conducting the laying of the wreath just before the 21-gun salute. The MCOE Band performed a rendition of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Taps and America the Beautiful.
Retired Major, Samuel Rhodes and his wife, Fortson, Georgia, attended the ceremony. "It tears me up inside to know the huge sacrifice of what these great Americans have done we take a lot for granted. I got up this morning and I took a shower, I remember, when I was in Iraq; I didn't get to take a shower for 6 months. So it's a tremendous honor to pay tribute to the fallen comrades."
"Personally, it means an awful lot to me. My wife's first sergeant was killed in Vietnam, for example. All these people I personally knew in Korea and Vietnam," adds Retired Lieutenant General Sam Wetzel.
An Australian soldier was also among the attendees. Anthony Birch is residing at Fort Benning for two years as an instructor. He commented, "It's a pleasure being in the United States to help celebrate and recognized the dedication and service of American Soldiers."