20 May 2013: Memorial Day 2013

Posted: May 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

patchIf you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I have a particular reverence for Memorial Day, which I detailed in last year’s entry, “It’s Not National Grilling Day.”

This year, I had an opportunity to participate in an event that really brought home the sacrifices made by the men and women who fight and die in our wars — and the legacy they leave behind.

The motorcycle group I ride with, the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (Virginia Chapter 27-2), was part of the annual Frazier-Mason Some Gave All benefit ride Sunday, 19 May. This year marked the seventh that riders gathered at Spotsylvania (Va.) High School and rode the 30 miles to King George High School. Weather affected the turnout, but somewhere around 600 or so bikes (that’s purely a guess on my part; CVMA 27-2 was at the front, pulling road guard duty) of all types showed up, along with a Marine Corps color guard and a USMC LAV-25, which followed us the whole way, and a police escort.

Along the route, under cloudy skies that threatened rain the entire trip, we didn’t ride a single mile without encountering well-wishers on the side of the highway, waving flags and signs, cheering, even — in the case of a few stalwart veterans — saluting the entire column as we rode by. In King George, a huge crowd welcomed us to the turnoff to the school, with flags, cars honking horns, music blasting and even a fire truck with a large American flag draped from its extended ladder.

Why these two high schools and why the outpouring of support? Not because there were bikers in town. Because of two sergeants, one Marine, one Army. Sgt. Josh Frazier, USMC, graduated from Spotsylvania High; Sgt. Nick Mason, USA, graduated from King George.

The following bios are from the Some Gave All website, as are the photos of Frazier and Mason.

Josh Frazier

From the Some Gave All Foundation website

Joshua James Frazier was born in his beloved community of Spotsylvania County on June 28, 1982.

After graduating from Spotsylvania High School in 2000, he struggled to determine what came next in life. When terrorists attacked the country on September 11, 2001, Josh enlisted as a Marine and found his true calling.

Josh often visited Spotsylvania High School on his trips home. He encouraged at-risk students to stay in school and get an education.

After graduating Boot Camp in February 2003, Josh was deployed to Okinawa, Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Josh received several merit-based promotions in his time as a Marine, and was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor after saving lives in Iraq.

When his tour of duty ended in April 2006, Josh was determined to return to Iraq because, in his words, “the job was not finished.” The thought of sending young men into combat with no experience broke his heart. Josh knew his knowledge and experience could make a difference in the fight. He lobbied for a second deployment, transferred battalions, and even extended his service in order to return to Iraq in September 2006. When he had the opportunity to return home from his second deployment to Iraq, Josh volunteered for another extension because his men did not have that choice.

Josh died on February 6, 2007 while serving in Iraq. His eagerness to help his fellow Marines exemplifies his personality. He was compassionate, caring, and willing to put the safety and wellbeing of others above his own. Josh was always the first to help his family and friends in a time of need. He was a strong man in body, will, spirit, and personality. He had a firm handshake, a warm smile, a hearty laugh, and a hug that gave the sense of protection. His only fear was that someone might get hurt when he had the ability to save them.

Josh was quiet about his kindheartedness. He did not boast when he helped a homeless man find a place to stay, or gave money to a young mother in need. It was only after he was gone that so many “Josh stories” were told about his compassion. It is Josh’s benevolence that inspired his family and friends to continue his efforts.

nicholas_mason

From the Some Gave All Foundation website.

The Sergeant Nicholas C. Mason Memorial Scholarship Fund was organized by his family in his memory. This Fund is intended to promote, perpetuate and encourage the qualities Sergeant Mason exhibited as a citizen. Scholarships will be awarded to graduating King George High School Seniors with plans to attend colleges, universities, junior colleges, community colleges, business or vocational schools. The annual sum of all scholarships granted will be at least $5,000.00.

SGT Nicholas C. Mason Memorial Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 101
King George, Va. 22485
c/o Jack Billingsley, 540-775-3133
Tax ID #20-2127026

Glad I had the chance to participate. All gave some, but some gave all.

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