FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Nineteen new names were chiseled into the black granite face of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Fallen Soldiers Memorial at Fort Bragg, N.C. Thursday.
A squall washed over dozens of “Gold Star” relatives — so named for the small banners that adorn windows of homes where a loved one perished fighting overseas — who lined up to lay a red rose at the base of the wall in memory of those lost over the past year.
The most recent fallen, who mostly died in counter-terrorism operations, join a union of 1,151 other Army special operations forces soldiers killed in missions over the past 60 years.
It is an annual ritual here at the Army’s home of the elite soldiers who increasingly are bearing the brunt of combat casualties as surge troops withdraw from Afghanistan ahead of 2014.
“We will remember through children named after fallen friends, stones laid in their honor, building and street names, books written, tattoos inked, and ribbons and pins worn,” Army Lt. Gen. Charles Cleveland, the command’s top officer, told hundreds gathered in the rain.