Reader's Comments

RaNae Vaughn     Iuka, MS
What a well-written article!  As a mother who lost a son in Iraq on May 10, 2007, I agree whole-heartedly with the words: "grief too great to handle, hurt too deep to heal." Yet I am extremely proud of my son, Jason, and all of these other Mississippians who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom!

THE ALTAR OF FREEDOM
In honor of all from Mississippi who have died in the War on Terror







While it is never easy to lose a mother or a father, there is a certain natural order to it. It is part of the ordinary rhythm of life for a mother to give birth to her child and for the child to give burial to the mother. The mother is there for the child when life begins. The child is there for the mother when life ends. But war messes that up and makes a mockery of the way things ought to be. When that order gets reversed, the emotions become difficult to deal with.

In the past three weeks, we have made more than a dozen phone calls to people whose worlds have been reversed. Mothers who have lost a son. Wives who have lost a husband. Brothers who have lost a brother. Friends who have lost a friend. And in every conversation it is the same emotion, grief too great to handle, hurt too deep to heal. But behind the pain in each person’s voice is also an enduring pride. While they weep for the loss of their loved one, they do so with their head held high. Not because their sons lost their lives, but because their sons gave their lives.

In 1864, Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to a mother who had reportedly lost five sons in the Union Army. It was later learned that two of her sons were killed, not all five. Her pain was still real, however, as two of her boys never made it home. Lincoln closed his brief letter with these words:

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Over the past ten years, nearly 80 families across our state have buried a son or a daughter, a husband or a wife, a brother or a sister who died in service to their nation. So as we pay tribute through 40 Days of Honor to those who have given their lives, today we pause to offer our heartfelt sympathy and gratitude for the sacrifice you have placed upon the altar of freedom, both to the individual soldiers themselves as well as their families. Your gift helps keep life in perspective for all of us, for we cannot say we truly celebrate our freedom unless we are equally willing to commemorate our fallen.


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A marine from the same unit as Cpl. Justin Cooper stands next to the monument to Cpl. Cooper in Eupora, MS.

Mississippi's List of Fallen Soldiers

Marine Master Sgt. Scott E. Pruitt
April 28, 2012   38, of Gautier, Miss

Army Sgt. 1st Class Billy A. Sutton
February 7, 2012   42, of Tupelo, Miss

Marine Lance Cpl. Edward J. Dycus
February 1, 2012  22, of Greenville, Miss

Navy Master-at-Arms 1st Class (AW) Stacy O. Johnson  July 18, 2011  35, Rolling Fork, Miss

Army Sgt. Christopher R. Bell
June 4, 2011  21, of Golden, Miss

Army Staff Sgt. David D. Self
May 16, 2011   29, of Pearl, Miss

Marine Staff Sgt. Jason A. Rogers
April 7, 2011 28, of Brandon, Miss

Marine 1st Lt. William J. Donnelly IV
November 25, 2010  27, of Picayune, Miss

Army Sgt. Eric C. Newman
October 14, 2010  30, of Waynesboro, Miss

Army Pfc. William B. Dawson
September 24, 2010   20, of Tunica, Miss

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua S. Ose
September 20, 2010   19, of Hernando, Miss

Army 1st Sgt. Robert N. Barton
June 7, 2010  35, of Roxie, Miss

Army Sgt. Anthony O. Magee
April 27, 2010   29, of Hattiesburg, Miss

Army Spc. William A. Blount
April 7, 2010   21, of Petal, Miss

Army Staff Sgt. William S. Ricketts
February 27, 2010  27, of Corinth, Miss

Army Sgt. Matthew L. Ingram
August 21, 2009  25, of Pearl, Miss

Army Sgt. 1st Class Severin W. Summers III
August 2, 2009  43, of Bentonia, Miss.;

Army Sgt. 1st Class Johnny R. Polk
July 25, 2009   39, of Gulfport, Miss

Army Pfc. Christopher A. McCraw
October 14, 2008  23, of Columbia, Miss.;

Army Sgt. 1st Class George Stanciel
August 19, 2008  40, of Greenwood, Miss

Marine Cpl. William J. Cooper
May 19, 2008   22, of Eupora, Miss.;

Marine Lance Cpl. Casey L. Casanova
May 2, 2008  22, of McComb, Miss

Army Sgt. Lerando J. Brown
March 15, 2008  27, of Gulfport, Miss.;

Army Cpl. Robert T. McDavid
March 10, 2008  29, of Starkville, Miss.;

Army Spc. Melvin L. Henley Jr.
November 21, 2007 26, of Jackson, Miss

Army Sgt. Taurean T. Harris
August 2, 2007  22, of Liberty, Miss.

Air Force Staff Sgt. John T. Self
May 14, 2007  29, of Pontotoc, Miss

Army Sgt. Jason W. Vaughn
May 10, 2007 29, of Iuka, Miss

Army Staff Sgt. Jerry C. Burge
April 4, 2007  39, of Carriere, Miss

Marine Cpl. Dustin J. Lee
March 21, 2007  20, of Quitman, Miss

rmy Pvt. Barry W. Mayo
March 5, 2007  21, of Ecru, Miss

Army Sgt. 1st Class William C. Spillers
February 17, 2007  39, of Terry, Miss

Marine Master Sgt. Brian P. McAnulty
December 11, 2006  39, of Vicksburg, Miss

Air Force Capt. Kermit O. Evans
December 3, 2006   31, of Hollandale, Miss

Army Sgt. Courtland A. Kennard
November 9, 2006  22, of Starkville, Miss.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Clarence D. McSwain
June 8, 2006  31, of Meridian, Miss

Army Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Robinson
March 25, 2006  36, Brandon, Miss

Marine Sgt. Donnie F. Levens
February 17, 2006   25, of Long Beach, Miss.;

Marine Cpl. Michael B. Presley
December 14, 2005   21, of Batesville, Miss

Marine Lance Cpl. Roger W. Deeds
November 16, 2005  24, of Biloxi, Miss.

Army Staff Sgt. Brian L. Freeman
November 7, 2005  27, of Caledonia, Miss

Army 1st Lt. Robert C. Oneto-Sikorski
October 31, 2005  33, of Bay St. Louis, Miss

Army Sgt. Travis S. Cooper
July 16, 2005  24, of Macon, Miss.;

Marine Cpl. Clifton B. Mounce
July 14, 2005  22, of Pontotoc, Miss.

Army Sgt. Larry R. Arnold Sr.
June 11, 2005  46, of Carriere, Miss

Army Spc. Terrance D. Lee Sr.
June 11, 2005   25, of Moss Point, Miss

Marine Lance Cpl. Marc L. Tucker
June 8, 2005   24, of Pontotoc, Miss

Army Spc. Bryan Edward Barron
May 23, 2005  26, of Biloxi, Miss

Army Spc. Audrey Daron Lunsford
May 23, 2005  29, of Sardis, Miss

Army Staff Sgt. Saburant Parker
May 23, 2005  43, of Foxworth, Miss

Army Sgt. Daniel Ryan Varnado
May 23, 2005 23, of Saucier, Miss.;

Marine Pfc. Stephen P. Baldwyn
May 9, 2005  19, of Saltillo, Miss

Army Spc. Robert S. Pugh
March 2, 2005  25, of Meridian, Miss

Army Sgt. Timothy R. Osbey
February 16, 2005  34, of Magnolia, Miss

Army Spc. Joseph A. Rahaim
February 16, 2005  22, of Magnolia, Miss

Army Spc. Robert A. McNail
February 11, 2005  30, of Meridian, Miss

Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean M. Cooley
February 3, 2005  35, of Ocean Springs, Miss

Army 2nd Lt. Matthew R. Stovall
August 22, 2004  25, of Horn Lake, Miss

Army Spc. Joshua I. Bunch
August 6, 2004  23, of Hattiesburg, Miss

Army Sgt. Joshua S. Ladd
May 1, 2004  20, of Port Gibson, Miss.;

Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey F. Dayton
April 29, 2004  27, of Caledonia, Miss

Marine Pfc. Christopher D. Mabry
April 7, 2004  19, of Chunky, Miss.

Army Staff Sgt. Clint D. Ferrin
March 13, 2004  31, of Picayune, Miss.

Army Spc. Raphael S. Davis
December 2, 2003   24, of Tutwiler, Miss

Army Spc. Jeremiah J. DiGiovanni
November 15, 2003  21, of Tylertown, Miss

Army Pfc. Damian L. Heidelberg
November 15, 2003  21, of Batesville, Miss.

Mississippi Army National Guard Spc. James A. Chance III  November 6, 2003 25, of Kokomo, Ms

Army Staff Sgt. Joe N. Wilson
November 2, 2003  30, of Crystal Springs, Miss

Marine Sgt. Jonathan W. Lambert
June 1, 2003   28, of New Site, Miss.

Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth R. Bradley
May 28, 2003  39, of Utica, Miss

Army Cpl. Henry L. Brown
April 8, 2003  22, of Natchez, Miss

Army Spc. Larry K. Brown
April 5, 2003  22, of Jackson, Miss

Marine 2nd Lt. Therrel S. Childers
March 21, 2003  30, of Harrison County, Miss
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