The last full measure of devotion….
Appeal Staff Writer
In honoring the nation’s war dead, Staff Sgt. Jason Hillman quoted General George Patton’s view of war.
“It’s foul and wrong to mourn the men that died. It’s better to thank God that they had lived.”
Hillman, 27, is a veteran of four tours of duty overseas, first in Bosnia in 1999, then Afghanistan in 2003, followed by two tours of duty in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.
He spoke at the Memorial Day Service at Lone Mountain Cemetery on Monday, crediting generations of servicemen and women for keeping this nation free.
“Because they cherish peace, they choose to live as warriors; in order to defend our right to live as individuals, they give up some of their individuality; they love America but fight in foreign lands; they value life, but give up their own lives,” he said. “Our soldiers fight and die not for the glory of war, but the price of freedom.”
The ceremony included prayers, along with the speeches. The Scottish American Military Society and the American Legion Post 56 color guards were on hand and the Legion offered the traditional 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.
The event had a few glitches, such as the microphone going out in the middle of some speeches, but the speakers just raised their voices a little to be heard.
Hillman is now serving with the Salt Lake Recruiting Unit in Carson City, since some time spent recruiting is required of soldiers. But he’s eager to get back to the fighting.
“Wherever some butt-kicking is needed,” he said.
He didn’t forget the home front in his speech either, choking up a bit when he thanked his wife, Jessica, for standing by him.
“Thanks for your unconditional love and support,” he said. “I couldn’t do it without you.”
Jessica Hillman, who watched the ceremony with their three children, twins Jacob and Kayla, 8, and Nathan, 4, expressed pride in her husband, despite the many deployments.
“They’ve been tough, but you just stick through it,” she said. “I support him in his career.”
The speakers at the event adopted a strong, pro-war stance, with Don Lindsay of the Scottish American Military Society encouraging the crowd of more than 150 to stick by the soldiers, and join service groups like Soldiers’ Angels.
“Don’t allow the sacrifice of those we mourn today be wasted because of a lack of resolve,” he said. “Bring our heroes home, but bring them home in victory.”
Sgt. Linda Lindsay, a helicopter mechanic, spoke of her Nevada National Guard “family” and those that family lost, including Patrick Stewart, the Wiccan who recently had the symbol of his religion added to his monument in Fernley, and several others.
She also spoke of Sgt. Keith Williams, a Vietnam veteran who died, not because of a wound, but because he got trench foot so bad it turned into blood poisoning.
“He went to war for the same reason everyone else did,” she said. “He died, not in combat, but quietly in his bed 30 years ago. He was my dad.”
Sgt. Lindsay said all the soldiers went willingly, because “they knew freedom is not free. It’s not a gift, it’s a responsibility.”
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.
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