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Clontz Memorializes Recently Departed Guard Members

Charlotte, N.C. – Brig. Gen. Iwan Clontz (right) and Chief Master Sgt. Maurice Williams of move a wreath into position during the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased within the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)

Charlotte, N.C. – Brig. Gen. Iwan Clontz (right) and Chief Master Sgt. Maurice Williams of move a wreath into position during the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased within the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145 Airlift Wing Honor Guard stand-by at the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145 Airlift Wing Honor Guard stand-by at the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Chief Master Sgt. Maurice Williams marches by surviving family members with a memorial wreath for the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Chief Master Sgt. Maurice Williams marches by surviving family members with a memorial wreath for the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Master Sgt. Lan Dai Hilton of the 145 Airlift Wing Honor Guard plays taps at the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Master Sgt. Lan Dai Hilton of the 145 Airlift Wing Honor Guard plays taps at the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Tech. Sgt. Sheryl Bell of the 145th Airlift Wing Honor Guard reflects upon the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Tech. Sgt. Sheryl Bell of the 145th Airlift Wing Honor Guard reflects upon the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145th Airlift Wing Honor Guard stand by at the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145th Airlift Wing Honor Guard stand by at the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Chief Master Sgt. Douglas Rook shares a somber moment with Tech. Sgt. Edward Dennis as Dennis’s father is paid tribute at a memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Chief Master Sgt. Douglas Rook shares a somber moment with Tech. Sgt. Edward Dennis as Dennis’s father is paid tribute at a memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased in the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Senior Airman Jonathan Boseman of the 145 Airlift Wing Honor Guard fires his rifle as part of the twenty-one gun salute at the memorial service honoring North Carolin Air National Guardsmen deceased within the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Senior Airman Jonathan Boseman of the 145 Airlift Wing Honor Guard fires his rifle as part of the twenty-one gun salute at the memorial service honoring North Carolin Air National Guardsmen deceased within the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Relatives of deceased airmen of the North Carolina Air National Guard from the past year etch names from the memorial statue onto a keepsake paper after attending a memorial service. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Relatives of deceased airmen of the North Carolina Air National Guard from the past year etch names from the memorial statue onto a keepsake paper after attending a memorial service. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Rich Kerner)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145th Airlift Wing Honor Guard stand-by at the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased within the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)
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Charlotte, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145th Airlift Wing Honor Guard stand-by at the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased within the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145th Airlift Wing Honor Guard stand-by at the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased within the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)
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Charlotte, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145th Airlift Wing Honor Guard stand-by at the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased within the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Tech. Sgt. Sheryl Bell of the 145th Airlift Wing honor guard stands at ease during the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased within the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)
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Charlotte, N.C. -- Tech. Sgt. Sheryl Bell of the 145th Airlift Wing honor guard stands at ease during the memorial service honoring North Carolina Air National Guardsmen deceased within the last year. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Sunlight is reflected onto names of deceased airmen of the North Carolina Air National Guard during an annual memorial service at the 145th Airlift Wing. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)
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Charlotte, N.C. -- Sunlight is reflected onto names of deceased airmen of the North Carolina Air National Guard during an annual memorial service at the 145th Airlift Wing. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)

Charlotte, N.C. -- Sunlight is reflected onto names of deceased airmen of the NC Air National Guard while families etch their loved ones names onto paper during an annual memorial service at the 145th Airlift Wing. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen, N.C. Air National Guard.
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Charlotte, N.C. -- Sunlight is reflected onto names of deceased airmen of the NC Air National Guard while families etch their loved ones names onto paper during an annual memorial service at the 145th Airlift Wing. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen, N.C. Air National Guard.

Charlotte, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145 Airlift Wing honor guard stand by at the memorial service honoring deceased  service members of the NC Air National Guard in 2010. Photo by Tech. Brian E. Christiansen, N.C. Air National Guard.
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Charlotte, N.C. -- Airmen of the 145 Airlift Wing honor guard stand by at the memorial service honoring deceased service members of the NC Air National Guard in 2010. Photo by Tech. Brian E. Christiansen, N.C. Air National Guard.

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Charlotte, N.C. -- The shadows of two airmen are reflected onto names of deceased airmen of the NC Air National Guard during an annual memorial service at the 145th Airlift Wing. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)
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101003-F-7564C-018 Charlotte, N.C. -- The shadows of two airmen are reflected onto names of deceased airmen of the NC Air National Guard during an annual memorial service at the 145th Airlift Wing. (NCANG photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen)

Charlotte, N.C. -- 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."