A Solemn Gratitude

The Memorial Day observances taking place this weekend stretch back at least to the Civil War, when widows and veterans decorated the graves of the fallen. Shortly after the war, in 1868, Gen. John A. Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a general order calling for flowers to be placed on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery. His eloquent words in honor of the brave troops who died on both sides still stir our hearts today:

“We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

In recent years, we have sent many of our own young men and women off to war in distant lands. Most have returned, but some paid a terrible price in service to our nation. Their sacrifice must not be forgotten. Their honor must be upheld. In that spirit, we remember the 63 service members from South Carolina killed in the Iraq War that thankfully ended last year, and the 30 S.C. sons and daughters killed in the still ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.


Army Pfc. Spence McNeil, 19, of Bennettsville; fatally injured March 8, 2003, in a truck crash in Saudi Arabia before the war started

Army Staff Sgt. George Buggs, 31, of Barnwell; March 23, 2003, in ambush of convoy near Nasiriyah

Marine Pvt. Nolen Ryan Hutchings, 20, of Boiling Springs; March 23, 2003, in combat at Nasiriyah

Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick Lee Griffin Jr., 31, an Elgin native; May 13, 2003, of shrapnel wounds near Diwaniyah

Army Spc. Orenthial J. Smith, 21, Allendale; June 22, 2003, when his convoy was ambushed south of Baghdad

Army Capt. Josh Byers, 29, an Anderson native; July 23, 2003, when homemade bomb exploded under his Humvee east of Baghdad

Army Pfc. Michael Scott Adams, 20, of Spartanburg; Aug. 21, 2003, in combat, caused by ricocheting bullet near Baghdad

Army Pfc. Vorn J. Mack, 19, of Orangeburg; drowned Aug. 24, 2003, in the Euphrates River

Army Staff Sgt. Anthony O. Thompson, 26, of Orangeburg; one of three soldiers who died Sept. 18, 2003, when their Humvee was ambushed near Tikrit

S.C. Army National Guard Pvt. Algernon Adams, 36, of Graniteville; Oct. 28, 2003, noncombat injuries, Forward Operating Base St. Mere, Iraq

Army Spc. Darius T. Jennings, 22, of Cordova; one of 16 soldiers killed Nov. 2, 2003, when a Chinook transport helicopter was hit by groundfire over Fallujah

Army Staff Sgt. Paul Neff, 30, of Fort Mill; one of six soldiers killed Nov. 7, 2003, when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed near Tikrit

Army Spc. Rian Ferguson, 22, of Taylors; Dec. 14, 2003, fell from vehicle near Forward Operating Base Quinn, Iraq

Army Capt. Kimberly Hampton, 27, Greenville; Jan. 2, 2004, when the Kiowa helicopter she was piloting was hit by groundfire near Fallujah

Marine Master Sgt. Timothy Toney, 37, Columbia; March 27, 2004, collapsed and died of natural causes at Camp Wolverine, Kuwait

Army Sgt. Maj. Michael B. Stack, 48, Lake City; April 11, 2004, in combat in Anbar province

Army Staff Sgt. Esau Patterson Jr., 25, Ridgeland; one of eight soldiers who died April 19, 2004, in a Baghdad bomb blast

Army Pfc. Melissa J. Hobart, 22, of Ladson; June 6, 2004, in Baghdad, after collapsing while on guard duty

Army Reserve Pfc. Thomas Caughman, 20, Lexington; June 9, 2004, when his vehicle was ambushed near Baghdad

Marine Pvt. Rodericka Youmans, 22, Allendale; one of four Marines killed July 6, 2004, in a bomb attack near Fallujah in Al Anbar province

Airman 1st Class Carl L. Anderson Jr., 21, of Georgetown; Aug. 29, 2004, in a bomb attack near Mosul

Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan E. Gadsden, 21, of Charleston; Oct. 22, 2004, from injuries suffered in combat in Al Anbar Province on Aug. 21

S.C. National Guard Staff Sgt. Jerome Lemon, 42, of North Charleston; Oct. 27, 2004, in Balad, when a car bomb exploded near his vehicle

Marine Lance Cpl. Travis A. Fox, 25, of Cowpens; Oct. 30, 2004, in enemy action in Al Anbar Province

S.C. National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Leach, 39, Rock Hill; Dec. 9, 2004, in a helicopter crash near Mosul

S.C. National Guard Lt. Andrew Shields, 25, Campobello; Dec. 9, 2004, in a helicopter crash near Mosul

Army Spc. Katrina Johnson, 32, of Orangeburg; Feb. 16, 2005, after the supply delivery truck she was riding in overturned

Army Spc. Jason Moski, 24, of Blackville; one of three soldiers killed Feb. 25, 2005, by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua L. Torrence, 20, of Lexington; March 14, 2005, of wounds suffered in hostile action in Al Anbar province

Army Lt. Clifford V. Gadsden, 25, of Charleston; April 29, 2005, when a bomb exploded near his convoy vehicle in Balad

Army Sgt. Anthony G. Jones, 25, of Sumter; June 14, 2005, in Baghdad where a bomb exploded near his vehicle

Army Sgt. Andrew Joseph Derrick, 25, Columbia; Sept. 23, 2005, small-arms fire near Ar Ramadi

Army Sgt. Donald D. Furman, 30, of Burton, Oct. 12, 2005; Humvee he was riding in collided with civilian vehicle near Balad

Army Pfc. Dustin Yancey, 22, of Goose Creek; Nov. 4, 2005, of wounds suffered when Humvee he was in struck a roadside bomb near Baghdad.

Army Spc. Anthony C. Owens, 21; Conway; Feb. 1, 2006, when his unit was attacked in Baghdad

Marine Staff Sgt. Jay T. Collado, 31, of Columbia; Feb. 20, 2006, from a roadside bomb near Baghdad

Marine 2nd Lt. Almar L. Fitzgerald, 23, of Lexington; Feb. 21, 2006, of wounds suffered Feb. 18 from a hidden bomb in Al Anbar province

Marine Sgt. John P. Phillips, 29, of St. Stephen; Aug. 16, 2006, at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, from wounds received March 7 during combat operations in Al Anbar province

Marine Cpl. David G. Weimortz, 28, of Irmo; Aug. 26, 2006 in a roadside bombing in Al Anbar province

Army Spc. Seth A. Hildreth, 26, of Myrtle Beach; Aug. 27, 2006, in Baghdad, of injuries suffered when a bomb exploded near his vehicle

Army Pfc. Satieon V. Greenlee, 24, of Pendleton; Oct. 2, 2006, from small arms fire in Baghdad

Army Spc. Harry Winkler III, 32, of Hampton; Nov. 12, 2006, when a car bomb went off near his vehicle in Samarra

Marine Cpl. Matthew V. Dillon, 25, of Aiken; Dec. 11, 2006, in a bomb blast while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province

Army Spc. Douglas L. Tinsley, 21, of Chester; Dec. 26, 2006, when in a vehicle rollover incident in Baghdad

Army Chief Warrant Officer Jason G. Defrenn, 34, of Barnwell; Feb. 2, 2007, when his Apache helicopter was shot down in Taji

Army Sgt. Shawn Dunkin, 25, of Columbia; Feb. 19, 2007, in Baghdad after homemade bomb destroyed his Humvee

Army Pfc. Joey Tyrone Sams II, 22, of Spartanburg; March 21, 2007, at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, when he was pinned between two vehicles

Army Sgt. Adrian Lewis, 30, of Mauldin; March 21, 2007, from small arms fire in Ramadi

Army Pvt. Anthony James White, 21, of Columbia; March 25, 2007, when roadside bomb blew up his Humvee northeast of Baghdad

Marine Lance Cpl. David P. Lindsey, 20, of Spartanburg; May 25, 2007, from a nonhostile incident in Habbaniyah

Army Pfc. Juan M. Lopez Jr., 23, of Florence; Aug. 13, 2007, one of three killed when an IED struck their vehicle in Qayyarah

Army Spc. Zandra T. Walker, 28, of Greenville; Aug. 15, 2007, when the enemy attacked with indirect fire in Taji

Army Staff Sgt. Terry D. Wagoner, 28, of Piedmont; Sept. 14, 2007, in improvised explosive device attack, in Baghdad

Army Sgt. James E. Craig, 26, Hollywood; Jan. 28, 2008, from a roadside bomb near Mosul

Army Master Sgt. Danny E. Maybin, 47, of Columbia, Aug. 7, 2008, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, as the result of a non-combat incident

Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Taylor, 25, Charleston; Sept. 21, 2008, in combat in Baghdad

Staff Sgt. Ronald Phillips Jr., 33, of Conway; Sept. 25, 2008, in improvised explosive device attack, in Bahbahani

Army Staff Sgt. Raphael Futrell, 26, of Anderson, March 25, 2009, non-combat incident, Baghdad

Army Sgt. Aaron M. Arthur, 25, of Lake City; March 8, 2010, in a vehicle rollover in Al Kut.

Army Sgt. Steve M. Theobald, 53, Goose Creek; June 4, 2010, in a military vehicle roll-over near Kuwait City, Kuwait

Army Capt. Michael P. Cassidy, 41, of Simpsonville; June 17, 2010, non-combat incident, Mosul.

Army Spc. Lashawn D. Evans, 24, of Columbia; Feb. 15, 2011, non-combat incident, Baghdad.


Marine Capt. Daniel McCollum, 29, of Irmo; Jan. 9, 2002, in a refueling plane crash in Pakistan

Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason Hicks, 25, of Jefferson; March 23, 2003, in a helicopter crash near Ghazni

Army Staff Sgt. Tony B. Olaes, 30, of Walhalla; Sept. 20, 2004, in hostile action near Shkin, southeastern Afghanistan

S.C. National Guard Sgt. Stephen High, 45, of Spartanburg; April 6, 2005, in a helicopter crash near Ghazni

Army Maj. Edward Murphy, 36, of Mount Pleasant; April 6, 2005, in a helicopter crash near Ghazni

S.C. National Guard Spc. Chrystal Stout, 23, of Travelers Rest; April 6, 2005, in a helicopter crash near Ghazni

Army Reserve Sgt. Edward R. Heselton, 23, of Easley; Aug. 11, 2005, after ordnance exploded near his vehicle, in in Orgun-E.

Army Sgt. Michael R. Lehmiller, 23, of Anderson, Aug. 21, 2005, when a bomb exploded near his Humvee, near Baylough

S.C. Army National Guard Sgt. Edward O. Philpot, 38, of Latta; Oct. 23, 2007, in a Humvee rollover near Tarin Kowt

S.C. National Guard Staff Sgt. James D. Bullard, 28, of Marion; Oct. 30, 2007, in a firefight with insurgents, in Spearwan Ghar

S.C. Army National Guard Sgt. Shawn F. Hill, 37, of Wellford; Jan. 2, 2008, vehicle hit a roadside bomb, Khowst Province

S.C. Army National Guard Spc. David Lee Leimbach, 38, of Taylors, May 25, 2008, after attack on his unit, near Bala Baluk

Army Capt. Richard G. Cliff Jr., 29, of Mount Pleasant; Sept. 29, 2008, improvised explosive device exploded near his vehicle, in Yakhchal

Army Spc. Abraham S. Wheeler III, 22, Columbia; Aug. 28, 2009, after roadside bomb, Logar province

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher S. Fowlkes, 20, of Gaffney; Sept. 3, 2009, after land mine explosion, Helmand province

Army Spc. Demetrius L. Void, 20, of Orangeburg, Sept. 15, 2009, struck by military vehicle, Kandahar

Army Pfc. Geoffrey A. Whitsitt, 21, of Taylors; Jan. 13, 2010, hit a roadside bomb, Logar province

Army Sgt. 1st Class John H. Jarrell, 32, of Brunson; July 15, 2010, after improvised explosive device, Kandahar

S.C. Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Willie J. Harley Jr., 48, of Aiken; Oct. 1, 2010, after roadside bomb, in Paktika province

S.C. Army National Guard Spc. Luther W. Rabon Jr., 32, of Lexington; Oct. 1, 2010, after roadside bomb, in Paktika province

Air Force Senior Airman Andrew S. Bubacz, 23, of Dalzell; Nov. 12, 2010, from injuries sustained while maintaining a communications tower, in Nuristan

Marine Lance Cpl. William H. Crouse IV, 22, of Woodruff; Dec. 21, 2010, while conducting combat operations, Helmand Province

Air Force Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden, 25, of Iva; March 2, 2011, by gunman in Frankfurt, Germany, while deploying

Army Pfc. Kalin Christopher Lee Johnson, 19, of Lexington; March 8, 2011, in non-combat incident, Vilseck, Germany

Army Pvt. Cheizray Pressley, 21, of North Charleston; May 16, 2011, after improvised explosive device, Zabul Province

Army Sgt. 1st Class Alvin A. Boatwright, 33, Lodge; June 18, 2011, in vehicle roll-over, Uruzgan Province

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Ralph E. Pate Jr., 29, Mullins; June 26, 2011, while conducting combat operations, Helmand Province

Marine Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Dodds Dudley, 29, Tega Cay; July 7, 2011, while conducting combat operations, Helmand Province

James W. Coker, 59, of Mount Pleasant; Sept. 5, 2011, on temporary assignment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in Kabul

Army Pfc. Justin M. Whitmire, 20, of Easley; Dec. 27, 2011, after improvised explosive device, in Paktia