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Veterans Day: Memorial honors dead from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Gold Star Mother Christine Honeycutt couldn’t hold back her tears Monday as she helped dedicate a monument at the Murrells Inlet VFW to 109 South Carolinians killed since 1991 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Honeycutt, mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Terry Honeycutt Jr. of Waldorf, spoke to a crowd of more than 300 people during the Veterans Day dedication ceremony of the black stone tablets bearing the names of the state’s dead in the global war on terrorism.

“I am here to pay tribute to our veterans for their service,” Anderson said. “For me it was an honor. We must do what we can for them. They have done so much and suffered so much. They need our support, our help.”

Col. Steve Cellucci, commander of the J-ROTC unit at St. James High School, said America has been at war for more than 15 years from operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Iraqi Freedom to present day Afghanistan and Enduring Freedom.

“Sadly, more than 2,300 young men and women have given their lives in the cause of freedom,” he said. “We mourn the loss of each member of that military family. They served in a noble and necessary cause, and their sacrifice made the nation more secure. Every loss is a tragedy, a loss to the military, to our nation and to the families that grieve. We can only hope the anguish of the families of these fallen heroes is tempered by the knowledge that their loved ones died in a noble cause, liberating millions of people from brutal regimes and protecting millions more from further harm and intimidation.”

“American warriors and these 109 South Carolina heroes came not as conquerors but as liberators. Their final act on this earth was fighting the forces of evil to bring freedom to oppressed nations.”

Dale Hampton, father of Capt. Kimberly Hampton, the first U.S. fighting woman killed in aerial combat, was among family members of the slain warriors attending the ceremony. His daughter, a helicopter pilot from Greenville, was shot down in Iraq in 2004 and posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Air Medal and the Purple Heart. Dale and Ann Hampton also have a residence at Pawleys Plantation.

“It’s a very nice monument,” he said after the ceremony. “I wish all those names weren’t on there, but it’s a nice tribute.”

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