Houston Remembers Fallen Troops in Current and Past Wars

Hundreds of people gathered at Houston National Cemetery this morning to honor military troops who died in combat. Some came to remember fathers and grandfathers who had served in World War II or Vietnam, but many also came to honor those who died in our current wars. Carrie Feibel has this report.

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One year ago, this was just another Memorial Day weekend for Rebecca Ainsworth-Smith. 

“You know, last year it was a time for sales and a long weekend, and it it’ll never be that. It’ll never be that again. For us, it will always be a somber day now.”

Rebecca’s brother Jesse Ainsworth was killed last July by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Jesse grew up outside Dayton, hunting and fishing.

When he died, he was an army staff sergeant.

He was a husband and father of two. He was 24 years old.

“We’re still in the first year of it. We’re still there. Some days it’s honestly. Getting to a year is unbelievable. Unbelievable to me. Because I can’t fathom that it’s been that long.”

Before going to Afghanistan, Jesse had already served two tours of duty in Iraq.

Rebecca says that’s why it was easy to assume his safety streak would just go on and on.

“People will say that: ‘Why didn’t you think that it could ever happen? I mean he was in a war zone.’ Well, yeah, but he spent two years before this in a war zone. It doesn’t occur to you. And when you talk to him, he would tell you how safe he was. We now know that that was anything but true. Where he was, was not a safe area. There were always IED’s going off.”

July 10 will be the first anniversary of Jesse’s death.

Rebecca says that on that day she will walk the 22 miles from a Baytown airport to Dayton, retracing the route her brother’s body took on its journey home.

Carrie Feibel, KUHF News.

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...