Hunter Army Airfield is remembering six of its soldiers killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Over a year ago, soldiers packed Hunter's chapel for a memorial ceremony to honor the men from the Second Battalion Third Aviation Regiment. The soldiers died when their UH 60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed in central Iraq. Each soldier was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and represented by an aviation helmet, a rifle and their dog tags.
That deadly Blackhawk crash happened one year ago today, and for those who lost loved ones, it's been a day to day struggle just dealing with the grief and loss. To honor those friends and family members, Hunter Army Airfield held a special ceremony today.
For some, today's ceremony did bring some closure, but for many others, they say it seems like it was just yesterday they lost their loved ones. Families held one another when the tears came, just like they've done several times before. This day brought back painful memories.
"Some days are easier than others," said Leo Boule, whose son died that day. "Today's kind of tough but for us. It's good because you're with with other families who understand what you're feeling because they're feeling the same way we are."
As a monument was unveiled, reveling the names of the men who were killed fighting for what they believed in, many family members say this past year has been difficult, but now some feel like they can began to move on. "The past year has kind of flown by for me," said Meighan Adamouski, who was widowed in the crash. "This first year anniversary is really seemed to feel like a weight has lifted and I feel much more at ease with everything. It's easier to talk about."
But for others, they say it will never get any easier because the pain they feel is just to great. "He was 22, not a kid but you still feel it, you know, so it isn't any easier," said Boule.
Wearing her son's ID tags close to her heart, this day is just another one Sue Boule will spend without her and Leo's son Mathew. "We lost something," she said. "We lost a part of ourselves. Part of us died when he died. The only kind of closure we'll get is when it's our time to go."
While family members continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones, many other soldiers have had some difficulty dealing with this as well.