The name of a Bracken County soldier killed in Afghanistan was added to the War Memorial in Augusta on Saturday.
Outside the Mains-Quinlin Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Augusta is a monument with the names of soldiers from Bracken County who were killed in wars throughout history. On Saturday, Jeremy Summers, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011, was added to that list. The addition was a part of a much larger ceremony to remember those who had been killed in World War I.
Inside the VFW was also an exhibit with Bracken County memorabilia from World War I.
Heather French Henry, an Augusta native, spoke during the ceremony.
“It is always a pleasure to be here to honor our heroes and our fallen heroes,” she said. “Sadly, many of our young people today are not taught much about World War I. No matter how much time it takes to learn about that history, every day is a chance to honor those who fought for us. Being here today, we are showing actions that we truly care. May we never forget that the true fabric of our nation isn’t celebrities or the almighty dollar, it’s the men and women who’ve laid down their lives for that wonderful flag.”
The featured speaker of the morning was Lt. Col. John Caputo, who spoke about importance of remembering those have fallen.
“It was hard sometimes to come to work, because you might lose a pilot or lose a friend,” he said. “It was tough, but we didn’t really say much about them when they left. It was the way we were trained. We just didn’t talk about it, but that eventually changed for my squadron when the most well liked member of the squadron was killed. This guy was just well loved. He was a great guy. We were devastated when it happened.”
Caputo said a colonel was asked to speak to the group because everyone had such a difficult time with the death.
“He came in and said, ‘I want you all to think about your high school friends.’ We’d all been out of high school for many years, so we weren’t sure where this was going. He said, ‘I want you to tell me about your high school friends and how many of them are alive and how many are deceased.’ We told him we didn’t know and he said, ‘those people, who are alive, but you don’t think about and you don’t talk about-to you, they’re gone. You’re not making any effort to include them in your life.’”
According to Caputo, the colonel told the soldiers that by not remembering others and talking about them, it truly makes the person gone.
“He challenged us in the case of our friend to remember his flying abilities and his personality,” Caputo said. “He told us to not act like he never existed. It was like someone gave us permission to remember our friend and not put him aside. It made quite an impact for us. You just have to work through memories and not let them out of your life.”
After Caputo spoke, a ceremony to reveal the inscription of Summer’s name on the monument.
Summers was a 27-year-old US Army soldier stationed in Afghanistan who was killed on July 14, 2011 after being wounded from small arms fire. He was a 2002 Bracken County High School graduate. He had served in Iraq prior to being stationed in Afghanistan. He was posthumously ranked as a Sargeant.
Summer’s parents, Mike and Laura Summers were present to complete the unveiling.
Laura Summers said it was honored to see her son remembered in such a way.
“I really, truly appreciate it,” she said. “Anytime they do anything like that, for anyone, it’s an honor. He was 18 when he went in the first time. He went in, did a tour in Iraq, came out and went to college, and he decided he wanted to go back. He was posthumously a Sargeant, because he was in the process of working toward that rank.”
Jeremy Summers name will remain on the monument.