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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/17/2005 7:09:50 PM EDT

Ga. Soldiers to be Mourned Thurs.

Associated Press Writer

ATLANTA (AP) -- Flags on public buildings will be lowered to half staff and clergymen from different faiths will lead a Capitol memorial service Thursday as Georgia pays tribute to its service members who have died in Iraq. Four more have been killed since Gov. Sonny Perdue first announced plans for the memorial.

Perdue tearfully called for the vigil and moment of silence two weeks ago after the Georgia National Guard's 48th Brigade suffered losses for the third time in 10 days. Four more have died since then, bringing the unit's losses to 16 since it deployed to Iraq in June.

At 1 p.m., the hour set for the moment of silence, the fallen will be remembered during a prayer service in the statehouse. At roughly the same time, members of the 48th will participate in the observance in Iraq.

Georgia Public Broadcasting will provide live television feeds of the ceremony to stations across the state.

Perdue previously has called on Georgians to pause at 1 p.m. to pay homage to the fallen. On Wednesday he signed an executive order directing flags to be flown at half staff on all state buildings and grounds to honor not only the fallen but those who continue to serve in the Middle East.

Among the 48th's latest casualties were three members of a Douglasville-based detachment killed Monday when their vehicle overturned during combat operations in south Baghdad.

The Pentagon identified them as Sgt. Thomas Strickland, 27, of Douglasville; Spc. Joshua Dingler, 19, of Hiram and 21-year-old Sgt. Paul Saylor of Norcross.

A fourth serviceman, Spc. Michael Stokely, 23, of Loganville, was killed early Tuesday morning after he stepped on an improvised explosive device, said his wife, Niki.

In an emotional news conference on Aug. 4, Perdue called for the state to pay tribute to the fallen servicemen.

"These most recent deaths fall especially close to home because they are members of our citizen-soldier brigade. They live next door. They're our neighbors. They're part of the community," he said, his voice choked with emotion and his eyes brimming with tears.

The prayer service is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m., and will include prayers by Protestant, Catholic and Jewish clergymen. A lone bagpiper will send the notes of "Amazing Grace" skirling through the building.

Capitol police said they expect that an extremist religious group from Topeka, Kan., which has picketed similar memorial services for soldiers, will demonstrate on the Capitol sidewalks.

"We're going to make sure nobody gets hurt and everybody gets a chance to express their freedom of speech," said State Patrol Capt. Al Wilson, director of the Capitol police department.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:46:58 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 7:52:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BookHound:
Thanks for the reminder.


My buddy is to get home for the break on 8/22.

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