David Ford memorial reminds of sacrifice

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 14, 2005

Veterans Day is unique amongst the holidays.

It is a day that fills some with pride, but also one that reminds of those who have lost their lives in service to their country.

A memorial service hosted by AmVets Post 5293 for Spec. David Ford IV, the first Lawrence County resident killed in the current war in Iraq, attempted to walk the line.

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The 30 or so gathered mourned a departed soldier but honored all that he left behind.

A crowd of family and friends were silent, most eyes transfixed on a small picture of David, as they listened to a rendition of Billy Ray Cyrus' &#8220Some Gave All,” interrupted only by the occasional passing car.

There was a small prayer which followed, but most of the ceremony consisted of quiet reflection.

It was cooler at the Aid cemetery where Ford is buried than it was during his late September funeral, but the sun shone just as brightly, reflected off a small memorial stone the AmVets installed near Ford's grave.

Finding the warmth in the chill was exactly what Ray Adams, Ford's grandfather, was attempting to do as he reflected on the Ironton boy's life after the ceremony, seated on a stone bench the AmVets had also supplied.

&#8220One thing about him, he was a good Christian boy, he belonged to our church, he was saved in our church,” Adams said. &#8220That was the best thing about it.”

Adams, a fellow veteran, was also aware of the day's vast significance, giving credit not only to his grandson, but those who stood with him.

&#8220I'm proud of him, not only for what he did, but for the thousands of other that have done the same,” Adams said. &#8220We all ought to be thankful.”

Pastor Robert Pierce of Jeffersonville Missionary Baptist Church, where Ford attended, said that the young man's death had done just that, reminded the community of the constant sacrifice of the military.

&#8220We've, naturally, thought a whole lot of him since the funeral, he's still mentioned a lot and on people's minds a lot,” Pierce said. &#8220I think too it's made people a lot more aware of other men and women that are over there in the war now. I think it's helped us to pray for them a whole lot more.”

AmVets Post 5293 Commander David Malone was, like his fellow veterans, quiet for most of the service, wishing for the thoughts and minds of the crowd to be as focused on Ford.

&#8220It makes me sad, myself. I was in Vietnam and I've only got, they said, four to six months to live (because of cancer). I'd be more than glad to trade him places,” Malone said as tears welled in his eyes. &#8220I wish I could, because that boy's life was just starting.”

There is one more addition that the AmVets made to Ford's gravesite: A large flagpole, visible from the nearby road.

It is like Ford's own life, standing several times taller than his diminutive stature, but a permanent reminder that lives given in service of others are never truly lost.