CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Music and memories filled the air at Ben Garza Gymnasium as many came to honor service members killed in the line of duty.
Marine Veteran Wesley Thomas said he will never forget the day Lieutenant Matthew Vandegrift was killed.
“His team replaced my team in Iraq in 2007 and unfortunately, an improvised explosive device ended his life in late 2007, close to 2007, 2008,” Thomas said.
Vandegrift died on April 21, 2008, from wounds sustained during combat in Basra. Thomas is using Memorial Day to reflect on the life of Lieutenant Vandegrift.
“I can still see his smiling face and his sense of humor in the midst of dealing with things that were harsh in a harsh climate and a very unpredictable future,” he said.
Mayor Paulette Guajardo, who attended the ceremony, said that remembering service members is essential to history and the future.
“Today is such an important day in remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us to be able to live our lives today and, of course, for the families who still carry the burden, who suffer every day because of their lost soldier,” Guajardo said.