(Host) This Memorial Day weekend, communities all over Vermont have been honoring those who gave their lives serving their country. The town of Dummerston held its observance Sunday night in the local Grange Hall. Veterans and fallen soldiers of all eras were recognized.
Photos of the recently fallen decorated the hall. Nine Vermont soldiers have died in combat in Iraq. A tenth, a 42-year old guardsman from East Barre, died of a heart attack in Kuwait.
The parents of a recent Brattleboro Union High School graduate killed in Iraq were the guests of honor. With her husband standing silently beside her at the flag-draped podium, Regina Gilbert talked about her son Kyle Gilbert. He was only 20 when he died in an ambush last August while pulling another soldier to safety.
Gilbert described her only child as a happy, humble person, a karate black belt by age 11.
(Gilbert) “He loved his family. You probably knew him or saw him as the kid with the bright red Chevelle that always had his music playing so loud, he wanted to share it with the whole neighborhood.”
(Host) Choking back tears, she talked about the couple’s last phone conversation with their son, in which he said, “just don’t forget me.” Gilbert urged everyone to remember, not just those who’ve died but also those living now who personify the unknown soldier.
(Gilbert) “He is the old guy bagging groceries in the local supermarket who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and now wishes all day that his wife was still living to hold him when the nightmares come. He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being who has sacrificed his ambitions so that others would not have to sacrifice theirs.”
(Host) The Gilberts were just back from a ceremony at Fort Bragg, North Carolina honoring 39 fallen members of their son’s battalion.