|From Cpl Travis Runnels 10/02/04
We Will Never Forget…
Well as we finish the final stage of the Memorial, we begin to move on and accept what has happened. For most of the Soldiers in 4/3 Air Defense Artillery this is one of our first experiences with the ultimate price of war, and all to often we forget that things like this can happen. It serves as a reminder of how fragile life is and how we must live everyday to the fullest. Now that we have lost one of our brothers the war turns more personal for us as unfortunately we are now forced to reflect on our losses and not just our accomplishments.
Personally, this was my first time dealing with the loss of a Soldier and hopefully the last. The tremendous outcome and the overwhelming love that was expressed at the memorial showed the type of people soldiers and Americans are. The Theater was packed, soldiers came from everywhere imaginable. Whether they knew PFC Marcus Johnson or not Americans and Soldiers came to pay their respects. It was a simple ceremony designed to help the Soldiers in the unit prepare to move on with the mission and respectfully say good-bye to a dear friend and a fellow Soldier.
It is sad that it often takes an event like this to help us to remember how great being a Soldier really is. The sacrifices we have made as Soldiers bring us together, and it shows the immense Love and Compassion we share for each other in a time like this. There was not a dry eye in the Ceremony whether you knew him or not. We all came here together, served here together and are supposed to leave here together. There is a never-ending bond that only Soldiers will know, the loss of a brother is never excepted, and will always be honored.
There is something special that happens as you progress through the ranks and “make it,” something special that allows you to consider yourself a Soldier. Many Americans don’t know the joys that come with the sacrifice we make. The pride we all feel is expressed in our own ways; it can never be compared or questioned. The soldier that we lost died with honor and dignity and most of all the Pride of knowing that he died making the ultimate sacrifice for his family, friends, fellow Soldiers and his country. He has moved on to be with God now; he is in a better place. We will always remember those who went all the way and helped to make this country what it is today. Today we now must remember Private First Class Marcus James Johnson and his contributions to his unit, the First Infantry division, the United States Army, and to his fellow Soldiers. He will never be forgotten.
Rest in Peace Marcus James Johnson, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. From one Soldier to another, “Thank You, I will never forget you.”
Runnels, Travis CPL
Battalion Chaplain’s Assistant
First Infantry Division