Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the Vermont National Guard and state leaders paid tribute to fallen Guard members by rededicating a monument in their honor after it was recently relocated to ease access.
“The more accessible the better,” said Heather Sheehan, whose husband, Kevin Sheehan, died 17 years ago.
Sheehan, a staff sergeant from Milton, served with the Vermont National Guard. He was killed in Iraq in May of 2004 during a mortar attack, when he was part of a team providing security for military intelligence.
“Memorial Day weekend is a little more tender for us,” Sheehan said. “Kevin’s body came home on Memorial Day.”
The Guard’s Fallen Heroes Memorial at Camp Johnson in Colchester recently saw a slight change.
The memorial used to sit in a more secure section of the base, but was moved a short distance and reassembled just as it was outside a gated area, meaning easier access.
“Families couldn’t spontaneously show up, and the public just couldn’t get to the memorial, so it made sense to move it from a security standpoint,” explained Deputy Vermont Adjutant Gen. Ken Gragg.
In the new spot, during Thursday’s rededication ceremony, the pledge from the military and civilians alike was the same: to never forget those who gave their last full measure of devotion.
“They were Americans dedicated to making the world a better place,” Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, the commander of the Vermont National Guard, said of the soldiers honored with plaques on the Fallen Heroes Memorial.
“While our heroes don’t ask for praise or gratitude, they certainly deserve it,” said Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont. “The very least we can do is make sure their memory and stories live on.”
This Memorial Day weekend, Heather Sheehan wants people to have fun and to enjoy their cookouts and time outside. But she asked that you don’t lose sight of what the day is really all about.
“If people can take a minute out of that barbecue to just be thankful for what you have, and those who have defended it for you, I think that would be awesome,” Sheehan