Honor Them And Say Their Names

Honor Them And Say Their Names

Honor Them And Say Their Names

How do we honor those thirteen American soldiers who gave their lives in Kabul on Thursday August 26, 2021? How do we remember? We Say Their Names.

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20, Jackson, Wyo.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20, of Wentzville, Mo.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Tex.
Navy Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak, of Berlin Heights, Ohio
Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, Calif.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, Calif.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, 31, of Utah
Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler Page, 23, of Omaha
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23, of Knoxville, Tenn.
Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario, 25, Lawrence, Mass.
Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22, Logansport, Ind.
Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23, of Roseville, Calif.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

We learn about their lives, their families, and their drive to serve this great nation. 

Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole Gee:

A twenty three year old who was just promoted to Sergeant. One of her last posts was on her Instagram page. She was holding an Afghan baby. The caption was “I love my job.”

Gee had been assigned to assist women and girls at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport as they fled Taliban repression.

Sgt. Mallory Harrison, Gee’s roommate in the house they shared at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, posted a heartbreaking Facebook tribute to her friend late Friday.

“I find peace knowing that she left this world doing what she loved,” Harrison wrote. “She was a Marine’s Marine. She cared about people. She loved fiercely. She was a light in this dark world.”

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss:

Knauss was a 1st Special Forces Command soldier from Fort Bragg on his second deployment. He’d wanted to serve for as long as anyone can remember. 

Upon hearing the news, a teacher from Knauss’ freshman year looked through her student papers and found an essay he’d written for her class. The students were asked to write about themselves, teacher Angela Hoffman told WATE-TV in Knoxville. Even then, Knauss talked of joining the military, she said. Friends reported he was a member of the high school’s JROTC program.

“In his essay, he wrote nine years ago almost to this date that for him a role model is anyone who stands up against power to help others,” Hoffman said. “He wrote that nine years ago as a 14-year-old boy, not knowing the man he was going to become.” 

Navy Corpsman Maxton Soviak

An honor roll student, active in sports, he planned to make the Navy his career. As his sister noted, he was a medic who was there to help people. Which is exactly what he was doing when the suicide bomber attacked. 

Marine Corps Cpl. Lance Lopez

Marine Lance Cpl Dylan Merola

Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui

A young man devoted to his career, to his family, and to the Marines he served with. His family was introduced to many of his buddies as he was constantly bringing them home on the weekends.

I cannot fathom the grief and also the strength of our Gold Star Families as they navigate this immense loss while working to honor their children’s service. 

Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum

Rylee grew up in Wyoming near Jackson Hole. From all accounts he’s wanted to serve from the time he was a toddler. Rylee was a wrestler, one who was very well known across the state. 

“It was just as you see it in the movies,” the grieving dad told The Daily Beast. “As soon as I saw them on the porch, I knew he was gone.”

“He,” was his son, Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, one of the 13 US service members killed in Thursday’s Kabul airport attack. Newly married, with a baby due Sept. 22, the 20-year-old was on a path toward greatness, the elder McCollum said.

“He was the most patriotic kid,” Jim said. “The right from wrong and being on the side of right— that kind of drove him in. I couldn’t have been more proud.”

What little comfort he can find is knowing that his son died fulfilling his dream to serve.

What is notable about ALL of them is their drive to serve and how much pride they all took in doing so. In the coming days and weeks as thirteen Gold Star families and friends will be remembering Laredo, TX native David Espanoza, Humberto Sanchez’s ability to make everyone laugh, Jared Schmitz of Wentzville, MO and how he died doing what he loved, Cpl. Daegan William-Tyeler Page’s love for his family, hockey, and hunting, and the pride in her service as well as the support Johanny Rosario gave to her many friends. 

As our soldiers continue their work in Afghanistan, let us keep them in our prayers. Let us also pray for those thirteen Gold Star families and their friends as they navigate these next days and weeks. 

Let us be thankful to know of Americans such as these. Let us Honor these amazing men and women. Let us forever Say Their Names.

Feature Photo Credit: Flag, soldier, salute by kalhh via Pixabay, cropped and modified 

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