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The publication of the International Press Assoc.


September 17, 2011

Remembering the Brave Ceremony – Sept 11, 2010

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Written by: Howie Grapek
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How appropriate that on September 11, 2010, the 9th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on US soil, that U.S. Marine Corps casualty assistance officer, Lt. Col. Steven Beck would bring the 5th Annual Remembering the Brave Ceremony to Denver. Over 200 distinguished guests were on hand at the Westin Hotel in Westminster to partake in the festivities to honor our fallen heroes and their families.

The Armed Forces are steeped in tradition and ceremony. It is only fitting that similar gravity is considered when honoring the families of the brave. Remembering the accomplishments and lives of the brave is very important. Each year Remembering the Brave provides the forum to honor our heroes’ families with the dignified presentation of the mounted medals, as well as any posthumous awards and decorations.

The evening started with a reception in the Hall of Heroes. Families of lost soldiers were surrounded by both active duty and retired soldiers from all branches of our military. All guests were garnered in formal-wear and military personnel were in full ceremonial dress uniforms.

The display In the Hall of Heroes was incredibly powerful. Every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine that would be represented in the “Final Salute” ceremony later in the evening had his own display with a dress uniform including name tag, full medals and patches. These were accompanied by a framed citation of the Purple Heart or Bronze Star medal and two pictures, one military and one civilian, that had previously been sent in by the parents.

Prior to dinner, emcee Rick Crandall announced the events of the evening. Sgt Jason Arellano shared stories of when he was overseas and wounded in service. He said he was one of the lucky ones to return, but was humbled by his tour of duty.

After a dinner fit for a hero was served, the guest speaker, internationally recognized military historian and author Richard S. Lowry took the stage to discussed his writings. His most recent works include the just released New Dawn, The Battles for Fallujah (May, 2010). Mr. Lowry shared stories of how he accumulated his facts. How, sometimes it took months to find all of the details. One heart warming story was told about a fallen soldier”s last steps. As Mr. Lowry shared the tale of how this young hero lost his life while saving the rest of his squadron, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The kicker was when he shared that after he published this story, he received an email from this soldier’s father thanking him for doing the research and telling what had actually happened. The father never knew the actual facts of his son’s death until he read what Mr Lowry had written.

Finally, the “Final Salute” ceremony began. During this ceremony, every family received a full set of their son’s dress medals and a bouquet of yellow roses. The number of roses in the each bouquet was the soldier’s age at the time of his death.

As the night was coming to a close, musical guest star Johnny Bulford came on stage and played his touching “Remembering the Brave” song. His song is now available on and ITunes. 100% percent of the proceeds go to support the mission of the Remembering the Brave Foundation.

A fitting close close to the evening, after the benediction, TAPS was played.

The Remembering the Brave Foundation is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to preserving the memories of brave service members who made the ultimate sacrifice, and honoring their families in their time of enormous loss.

The Remembering the Brave organization was founded out of the conversation between a grief-stricken mother and the Casualty Assistance Officer who came to notify her of his her son’s heroic actions while fighting for the freedom of a nation. Together, they made a promise to never forget the heroes who laid down their lives for our freedom. Shortly after, the Remembering the Brave foundation was born.

Since 2005, Remembering the Brave organization has held annual Remembering the Brave Ceremonies across the nation in honor of the brave service members who sacrificed everything for our country. Additionally, Remembering the Brave expanded their efforts through the generous donations of supporters throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Their donations helped to establish Remembrance Scholarships in the names of our heroes; started the efforts on the Hall of Heroes Memorial and helped further their mission through community and educational events.

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About the Author

Howie Grapek
Howie Grapek
IPA Staff ID: 06549 • I am a semi-professional photographer with years of experience covering many media events. For the first 15 years of my photographic career, I've focused on Wildlife and Nature Photography. I am a master scuba diver and avid underwater photographer. Most recently, I would call myself a "lifestyle photographer". Basically, that means that I mix photojournalism, candid portraits, and creative photography approaches to capture the most beautiful and hidden moments. The silent vulnerability & raw emotion is what I aim to capture in each photo I take.



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