Gilmore honored at Jasper ceremony
by JAMES PHILLIPS
May 29, 2012 | 2183 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The family of Richard Gilmore III walk to place a wreath in his honor during Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony at Walker Memory Gardens. - Photo by: James Phillips.
The family of Richard Gilmore III walk to place a wreath in his honor during Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony at Walker Memory Gardens. - Photo by: James Phillips.
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The first Walker County man to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom was honored Monday morning during a Memorial Day ceremony at Walker Memory Gardens.

Richard Gilmore III was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was killed July 18, 2007 after the vehicle he was traveling in came under fire and was hit by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad. Gilmore and three other soldiers were killed in the incident.

Gilmore’s family placed a wreath in front of the soldiers’ monument at the cemetery during Monday’s ceremony, which was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus from St. Cecelia’s Catholic Church.

David Hester, a member of the Knights of Columbus and organizer of the event, said the group was honored to have the Gilmore family at the event.

“I believe Richard learned a great deal from his parents,” Hester said. “He learned a love of country and a love of the American way of life. Richard’s dad told me the other day that ‘All gave some and some gave all.’ That hit home to me. Richard Gilmore gave all.”

Gilmore’s father, Richard Gilmore II, said attending the ceremony created mixed emotions for him and the other members of the family.

“It is difficult because it opens old wounds, but I’m honored because this is a way to celebrate Richard and every other person who has sacrificed their lives. This was a defining moment that let me realize how special this day is.”

Monday’s fifth annual Knights of Columbus Memorial Day ceremony also included guest speaker, Steven Koach, a 20-year Army veteran. Koach, has worked as a civilian for the Army for 12 years now. He is currently working in science and technology at the Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker.

“He has 32 years of service to his country and we were honored to have him here today,” Hester said.

Koach said he was humbled and honored to speak before the more than 100 people who attended the ceremony. Koach said the men and women of the U.S. Military deserve credit for their sacrifices.

“Peace and safety can’t just be hoped for,” he said. “Sometimes we have to step up and sacrifice. In the world we live in that sometimes means that Americans have to fight and die for our freedom.”

Koach said the American flag is also a symbol of that fight.

“America is more than a place,” he said. “It is an idea that has been lived and fought for by a people, and this flag is our symbol. We should always remember that.”