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Clontz Memorializes Recently Departed Guard Members

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Stephen Wilkins
  • 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Charlotte Air National Guard Base -- More than a thousand Guardsmen of Charlotte's 145th Airlift Wing stood at stoic attention as rapt surviving families of recently deceased former Guardsmen watched Brig. Gen. Iwan B. Clontz lay a wreath during a solemn ceremony of remembrance at the new memorial garden here October 3.

Thanking the them for sharing their loved ones with the Guard and sharing their loss in the ceremony, Clontz told the families soberly "This is about Y'all," adding the families' lives are forever intertwined with the Guard.

The ceremony, which included pronouncement of the deceased names to a bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace," Clontz calling the formation of Airmen to attention for a twenty-one gun salute, and a bugler performing "Taps," evoked tears and obvious pain in many attendees.

Chaplain Lt. Col. Sandy Yow related historical summaries of each Airman. He took the opportunity to remind everyone that although "your date of birth and date of death are controlled by God, you control the dash, what is in between." He noted the fallen Airmen devoted between 20 and 38 years of their lives to military service, noting their commitment was founded in a love of country and a love of family.

Yow asked the formation of Airmen "what will your dash represent?" He explained to the families that many of the airmen in formation are already destined for greatness, nurtured and prepared by the teachings of their loved ones. He urged the survivors to depend on them for support, strength and courage, saying "cut loose whatever is holding you back - then you'll be able to run."