FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Fort Drum took a moment of silence on Tuesday as families and soldiers gathered for the annual Remembrance Ceremony.
This is held every year during Fort Drum’s Mountainfest week. Gold Star families are welcomed to the military base from across the nation.
10th Mountain Division Commander for Operations Brigadier General Jason A. Curl lead the ceremony as he. served as this year’s guest speaker.
“Over 350 10th Mountain Division soldiers have lost their lives over the past two decades,” Brig. Gen. Curl shared. “We are standing here today because of these heroes and we are standing here today because of the families who support them and continue to support us.”
Following Curls remarks, senior leaders placed a wreath at the foot of Fort Drum’s Military Mountaineer Monument, and soldiers, each representing a fallen soldier of the same rank and unit, placed wreaths underneath memorial plaques within Fort Drum’s Memorial Park.
According to Brig. Gen. Curl, the Remembrance Ceremony is considered the most important event during Montainfest as it honors each individual fallen soldier.
“They paid the ultimate sacrifice and they paid the ultimate sacrifice for millions of people who they never met,” Curl explained. “It’s critically important to remember them and remember what they have done for our country.
This included Specialist Justin Coleman, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2009. His father Dean Coleman, and close friend and 10th Mountain Divison veteran Curtis Dassau attended the ceremony in his honor.
“Justin was a combat operator,” Dassau shared. “He lived for the job. He was a very supportive man to all his fellow brothers.”
Dean Coleman has been attending the annual Remembrance Ceremony since his son was killed. He’s continued to stand next to dozens of Gold Star families throughout the years.
These families were the top priority at Tuesday’s ceremony.
“We ask so much of our soldiers,” Brig. Gen. Curl said. “To keep fellowship with all of their families is critically important to us now and into the future.
Dassau and Coleman added that this helps keep soldiers’ names alive.
“To make sure that father’s and mother’s like [Dean Coleman], to know that they are appreciate, and respected and that there are many brothers and sisters that support them, that’s what this is all about.”
The ceremony concluded with a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Amazing Grace” and “Taps” by the 10th Mountain Division Band.