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Testimonials

2008 Remembering the Brave Ceremony

The following testimonials were originally posted on Gold Star Dads web site www.goldstardads.org

by Dad2Rhys on 29 Oct 2008 12:46

Wow! That was Awesome, as I am sure my friends Rick & Kim Creed and John & Stacy Holley will agree. The "Remembering the Brave Foundation" truly deserves a huge Hoaah!

The evening started with a reception in the Hall of Heroes. This gave us all time to meet and mingle and take the edge off. Surrounded by active duty Marines and Soldiers in full ceremonial dress uniforms made looking at our son's memorial a very personal and humbling experience. These young men and women were on their own time and chose to honor Us, wow.

The display In the Hall of Heroes was inspiring to say the least. Every Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine that would be represented in the "Final Salute" ceremony later in the evening had his own display with a dress uniform including name tag, full medals and patches. These were accompanied by a framed citation of the Purple Heart or Bronze Star medal and two pictures, one military and one civilian, that had previously been sent in by the parents.

Chow Call was not your usual rubber chicken. This was a Five Star restaurant meal served with grace and professional flare. Accompanied with plenty of GOOD wine, a few laughs and lots of pleasant memories. As the evening progressed you could feel the tensions in the room relax as the stories told at each table brought us all closer together.

Our Mistress of Ceremonies was Patricia Elmore Costa who turned in a very professional performance and kept the evening moving at just the right speed. The guest speaker for the evening was Pulitzer Prize winning author Jim Sheeler. Jim gave a short but very heartfelt review of just some of the highlights in his book "Final Salute." I don't believe there was a dry eye in the house after his speech. Bye the way, his book "Final Salute" is a must read!

The final speaker of the evening was our host Lt Col Steve Beck, Founder of "Remember the Brave Foundation." Steve currently is stationed in Washing DC at Arlington and is a very nice guy with a loving, Christian heart as big as anyone you will ever meet. A former Causality Assistance Officer, Steve truly cares about every soldier in his command and every Gold Star family he has had the honor to meet. It was in his capacity as a CAO that he came up with the idea of the "Remember the Brave Foundation."

This was the fourth Remembering the Brave ceremony so it was no wonder they were so polished. After LT Col Beck's inspiring speech he called to attention the approximately 50 Marines and Soldiers in the room and the Remembering the Brave ceremony began. It is hard to describe the feeling you get at a ceremony like this. For approximately 45 minutes the house was almost completely silent except for Patricia's introduction of each hero. The only background noises were the soft sniffles of family members shedding tears of Joy and the crisp sound of the presenter's uniforms and final salutes to the loved ones. I have been to a number of different events over the last 1 1/2 years and I still get chills every time, I still cry and I still laugh through the tears, actually I hope that part never goes away. I don't ever want to become so hard and callused that I can't cry in public.

Twenty-two Heroes were recognized this night. I think when everything was said and done the most telling thought of the evening was something I heard John Holley say during the reception time. He said when he looks at every one of the pictures in the memorials he sees his son Matthew. He wasn't imagining things, John had already had a very emotional day but he was right in that regard. I think what he meant is each one of our heroes has that same look in his eyes; each was cut from the same whole cloth. Our sons, all of them, became the men we always hoped and prayed they would be and tonight's ceremony was a fitting tribute to them.

Thank You Lt. Col. Beck, it was an honor meeting you.
Michael Klasno

As a side note:

The Remember the Brave Foundation was very generous, every family received a full set of their sons dress medals and a bouquet of yellow roses, the count of each was our sons age at the time of his death. Also a gift box full of goodies was provided. The box included a Remember the Brave challenge coin, memorial dog tags, a signed copy of Jim's book with a personal inscription, and a copy of a Iraqi Freedom Ballot. But the coolest gift was a certificate naming a STAR after each Hero. Lt. Col. Beck told the attendees that "each star is in the Orion Constellation, he chose Orion because he was the Warrior God and that was a fitting tribute to our fine warriors." We even got the exact coordinates in the sky of the star. In addition to all the accolades and gifts from sponsors each family also went home with the framed pictures from their heroes memorial.

I asked God for all things so I might enjoy life; He gave me life so I might enjoy all things. "Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know"

Jeremiah 33:3

Re: 2008 Remembering the Brave Ceremony

by Mom2Rhys on 02 Nov 2008 15:45

Gentlemen:

I cannot begin to tell you how honoring your event was for our son, Rhys, and for all of the other great heroes. Michael and I were truly honored and grateful for the opportunity to attend. I feel as though this event reassured me that all of our soldiers (I'm including Marines in that reference!) will not be forgotten. As parents of the fallen I think this is our greatest fear. With all of the other parents, widows, family members, etc. I've spoken to, all realize that our brave young men and women were something special and we never want anyone to forget how special and honorable they were. This event provided that reassurance for me.

The photos, the memories, the speakers, the presentation for each hero was so special. The framed photos truly showed Rhys' personality and reminded us how each one of our brave servicemen share common qualities of honor and duty, and above all a special gift of service and compassion that place them above the common crowd. We thank you from the depths of our hearts for this gift and hope that we can assist you in reaching out to other families so that you may do the same for them.

God bless you and honor you for your gift.
To Him be the glory!
Lynn Klasno

Proud Gold Star Mom of
Sgt. Rhys W. Klasno

The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil.

Isaiah 57:1

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Remembering a hero. Warriors gather in the Hall of Heroes at a Remembering the Brave Ceremony.
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