FORT MOORE, Ga. (WRBL)— This Memorial Day, leadership from Fort Moore held a Memorial Day Ceremony to pay tribute to the soldiers who gave their lives in service to our country.
Leaders, active-duty service members, veterans, and Gold Star Family Members all joined together at the Fort Moore Main Post Cemetery for a brief ceremony and honorary wreath laying Monday morning.
“This is just sacred ground,” Maj. Gen. Curtis Buzzard of the Maneuver Center of Excellence said. “It’s an honor to be here today and to reflect on the sacrifice that’s come before us.”
Maj. Gen. Buzzard says every Memorial Day he remembers those he served alongside that gave their lives in defense of our nation.
“I reflect as a whole on what all of them have done,” he said in the midst of the headstones that fill the cemetery. “But in particular, I reflect on those that I’ve served with that died during conflict.”
Maj. Gen. Buzzard went on to say it is important to use the sacrifices of our nation’s soldiers as a sense of motivation going forward. That’s what one Gold Star Family member Mary Kubik did.
She lost her brother Sgt. Ronald Kubik in Afghanistan on April 23, 2010.
“Ronnie was the most adventurous, eclectic kid you’d probably ever meet. He played every type of guitar you could think of. He wrote music, we’re from New Jersey so he went to every haunted place you could think of,” Kubik said. “He was just a good guy. When he died, they described him as a ‘Ranger’s Ranger,’ like he was just someone who would give you the shirt on his back and not go around telling everyone that he gave you his shirt.”
In 2019 Kubik moved cross country to the Fort Moore area to volunteer with the 75th Ranger Regiment where her brother was stationed.
“That’s why I moved here from New Jersey, because I just really felt like I needed that connection,” Kubik said. “I try to do whatever I can in the community. I try to keep in touch with other Gold Star Family Members. I just try to live my life to the best of my ability and with as much integrity as possible in a way that wherever he is right now, looking down on me from heaven, that he can be proud of the person I am.”
For her, Memorial Day is a day to honor not only those who gave their lives like Sgt. Kubik, but also those that are still living.
“For me, it’s a day where we get to honor all of those who paid the sacrifice for our freedoms and also a day to celebrate the people that are still here,” Kubik said. “I believe those that have paid that price and moved on would want us to celebrate life and the gift that we still have that they paid for us to have.”
Continuing on is a challenge, especially for those Gold Star Family Members. Maj. Gen. Buzzard says no one can truly understand that depth of sacrifice unless they’ve lost a loved one.
“I think it’s important for them to know that we never forget that we will always remember the sacrifices their loved one made,” Maj. Gen. Buzzard said. “And we can’t fully understand what that means. It’s such a hard experience that they’ve been through, but just to comfort them and know that we remember, and we care for them, and we’re honored that they’re here and we’re going to honor the legacy of their loved one.”
While Memorial Day is just one day, Fort Moore’s Survivor Outreach Services Program (SOS) Coordinator Alonzo Stewart says every day is Memorial Day in the SOS Office.
“Every day I have to comfort a fallen service member’s family and let them know they are never forgotten and that they are never alone,” Stewart said. “This day is just a day just to remember. Just to bring everybody back to the core of who we are as a nation that stands up and fight for freedom. These Gold Star Family Members here today, they’ve lost a lot. They’ve sacrificed for this nation. They have sent their loved ones, their mothers, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives off to fight on behalf of this nation.”
Stewart says the SOS Office is ready to support our Gold Star Family Members.
“They have me, they have our counselors, our military family life consultants. We can also reach out to Martin Army to make sure that they have the support they need for days like today, but ongoing, it’s not just today. The SOS Office is here to make sure families are taken care of at any time,” Stewart said.
Stewart invites anyone seeking help or support to reach out to their office.