FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s been a week since the attack in Afghanistan that killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 civilians. Two of those service members were stationed in North Carolina — one at Fort Bragg and another at Camp LeJeune.
Two Fayetteville veterans knew something needed to be done to remember and honor the lives lost. Grilley Mitchell, the President of the Cumberland County Veterans Council, said he noticed there hadn’t been any event organized in the area, so he called up his friend, Franco Webb, the Chairman of the Military Affairs Council for the Greater Fayetteville Chamber. Together they organized it.
“When we lose one, we are feeling the pain, we all suffer,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said he was moved so many people turned out.
“I try not to get emotional but when a group and a community come together to respect and honor ones that we lose. It just touches me deeply,” he said.
“It’s always important to support all of our troops. I’m fourth-generation military. It goes all the way back to my great grandfather. My dad and I served at Fort Bragg together,” Webb said.
“I had the honor of deploying to Afghanistan three times,” Col. Scott Pence, the Garrison Commander at Fort Bragg said. “All of us are conflicted these days as we think about our service in Afghanistan, but the words of a Gold Star spouse come to mind: ‘If it was to do right, to make the Afghans’ life a little bit better than how could it have been wrong,'” he said.
“They were heroes for this country. They gave their life being heroes,” Mitchell added.
While the remains of these service members are now on U.S. soil, their funerals will be held in their hometowns in the coming days.