Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memory Mondays ~ In Memoriam

Oh beautiful for heroes
proved in liberating strife,
 who more than self, their country loved,
 and mercy more than life.
Army Sgt. Nathan S. Barnes

Died July 17, 2007 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom 23, of American Fork, Utah; assigned to 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died July 17 in Rushdi Mullah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his unit was attacked by insurgents using small-arms fire.
The Associated Press

AMERICAN FORK, Utah — A 23-year-old soldier from Utah County was shot and killed as he prepared to get off a helicopter in Iraq, his father said.
Sgt. Nathan S. Barnes died July 17 in Rushdi Mullah of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by insurgents, the Department of Defense said.

Four hundred American flags lined the streets leading to the Barnes home in American Fork. On the house, a banner read: “Sgt. Nathan Barnes: Returning home with honor.” Barnes was deployed in August 2006 and was expected home around Christmas.

“We were going to give him a big hero’s welcome, but it wasn’t supposed to be like this,” sister Lisa Blake said.

Barnes enlisted in the Army at age 19. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Drum, N.Y.

“We’re sure he volunteered to go on the mission,” said his father, Kevin Barnes said. “He was always volunteering. He told us, ‘I don’t like to sit around.’ ”

For Memory Monday I would like to share with you one of my most cherished memories. I had the honor of witnessing the funeral procession for Sgt. Barnes. My son Richard was most priviliged to be among the Boy Scouts from our Stake who held a flag that day. There were over 400 boys with flags lining 100 East from the Alpine Tabernacle up the hill to the cemetery. It was truly one of the most moving sights I have ever witnessed.The day was blistering hot and the boys were wilting before the procession started; but as soon as the first motorcycle officers drove by to lead the way, these young scouts snapped to attention. My heart filled with pride as I watched them stand so solemnly and and straight. I hope these boys will always treasure this day as one when they were very near a real American hero.

Nathan's family lives in our LDS Stake. I drive by his home every time I go down the hill to go shopping. Recently I was surprised and very moved to see this:

The City of American Fork has renamed the Barne's home street (350 West) in honor of their son.
I think this is a fitting reminder of the sacrifice given by so many for those of us at home. They have given their lives so that we might enjoy freedom each day. They will never come home.
May we never forget!


Lori said...

I was moved to tears just looking at the pictures of those Scouts and all of those flags. What a sweet and tender tribute to Nathan Barnes, his family and friends. Thank you for making me realize that I should be more grateful that I get the opportunity to celebrate Memorial Day because others have worked so hard for my freedom. I am in deed grateful and always will be.

URFAVE5 said...

Seeing all those scouts was extemely touching and moving. I appreciate the reminder of what these men have done for us and what they do for us still. As we celebrate Memorial Day tomorrow I will be for grateful for my freedom!

Take Care,

Kendall said...

God bless you, Nathan. You were a great friend and an even greater man! Thank you!