So thank you, Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph R. Giese of Winder. He was killed on Jan. 7 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations. He was 24 years old and scheduled to complete his deployment in less than a month before he was killed in action. Among those Lance Cpl. Giese leaves behind are his wife Heather, his mother Constance Wascovich, his father Larry Giese, and his three sisters.
Thank you, Army Pfc. Jeremy P. Faulkner from Griffin who died March 29. He was killed in the Sarkani district of Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire. Also known as “Remy,” he leaves behind his mother and step-father, Judy and Tony Berry, his father, Joel Faulkner, and five siblings. He was 23.
Thank you, Army Spc. Gary L. Nelson, III, from Woodstock. He died April 5 in Mosul, Iraq of injuries sustained from a non-combat incident. He was 20. “It turned his life around,” his mother said. “He was adamant and passionate about serving in the military.” He leaves behind his parents, Gary Lee Jr. and Dawn Nelson, and his sister, Kristina.
Thank you, Army Staff Sgt. Cynthia R. Taylor of Columbus. She was killed April 16 at Forward Operating Base, Gamberi, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when an Afghan National Army Soldier attacked her with multiple grenades. She was 39 and leaves behind her daughter, Maggie Taylor, son, Joseph Goodwin, and mother, Judy Hart.
Thank you, Army Sgt. Robert G. Tenney, Jr. from Warner Robins, who died June 29. Tenney was killed in Badrah, Iraq, when his unit was attacked by enemy forces with indirect fire. At 29, he took his eternal rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Thank you, Army Spc. Mark J. Downer, who died Aug. 5. He was 23 and came from Warner Robins. He was killed in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket-propelled grenade. Downer’s aunt, Sandra Downer, said, “He always did what was best for others.”
Thank you, Army Staff Sgt. Keith F. Rudd from Winder. He died Sept. 10 in Parvan, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. He was 36 and on his third deployment.
Thank you, Marine Lance Cpl. John F. Wimpey Cagle from Tucker. He was 19 when he died Sept. 28 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Cagle graduated from Chamblee Charter High School in 2010.
Thank you, Army Spc. Adrian G. Mills from Newnan. He was 23 years when he died Sept. 29 in Kirkuk, Iraq, of injuries caused by indirect fire. He leaves behind his mother, Marie Blehschmidt, wife, Sandra Abel Mills, and sister, Maegon Mills. He took his eternal rest at Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Georgia.
Thank you, Marine Lance Cpl. Scott D. Harper from Douglasville, Georgia. He was 21 when he died Oct. 13 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He leaves behind his father and step-mother, Brian and Angela Harper, mother, Deborah Busbin Staples, two siblings and two step-siblings.
In 2011, these great Georgians all made the ultimate sacrifice for our country while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They and those serving with them left their families, homes and jobs to preserve and protect us.
None will see home again. They will never feel the warm embrace of moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and wives and children again. Their last Christmas was their last Christmas. Their sacrifice must never be forgotten nor overlooked.
Words are never enough to express a nation’s gratitude to those who have given so much. But there are two simple words that are a good start:
Randy Evans of Atlanta is the former general counsel to the Georgia Republican Party.