BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — A remembrance ceremony was held Thursday evening at Buckman Park for the 13 fallen American service members who died last week in Afghanistan. For Nick Stefanovic with Monroe County Veteran services, this ceremony tonight hit close to home.
“It was like a punch to the gut. And all the veterans in Monroe County have been struggling lately,” says Stefanovic.
Stefanovic, a Marine, did multiple tours to Afghanistan — and a scene like this is all too familiar to him and many others gathered here tonight. He wanted to bring the military community out and give everyone a place to grieve.
“….for people to be able to come and see each other, and stand with each other and talk to each other,” he says.
Marine Michael Zawacki lost 241 of his brothers in 1983 during the Beruit bombings. He says the loss of life last week as we pulled out from Afghanistan didn’t need to happen.
“This one was avoidable. This one was preventable,” he says, adding, “That’s 13 families that will never forget the sound of doors closing in their driveway when that news was delivered.”
Marine Amy Fowell organized this event in under 72 hours. “One Marine is enough. Losing 11 plus a (Navy) Corpsman, and a Soldier is just gut-wrenching,” she says.
Stefanovic says however you might feel about the pullout from Afghanistan, he says we can all take comfort in knowing the fight was worth it. “A generation (there) grew up free because of what we did, so it absolutely was worth it regardless of what is happening now.”
There is another remembrance event planned in Chili for August 30th.