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A military funeral is awarded any member of the armed forces who dies in battle.  One element of the military funeral is the folding of the flag which had been draped over the coffin and the presentation of that flag by a member of the military honor guard to the next of kin.  The presentation of the flag often provides an important sense of closure to the surviving family members.  The presentation procedure involves the honor guard member kneeling in front of the recipient, holding the folded flag waist high with the straight edge facing the recipient and while leaning toward the recipient the Honor Guard for the United States Army would say:

"On behalf of the President of the United States and the people of a grateful nation, may I present this flag as a token of appreciation for the honorable and faithful service your loved one rendered this nation."

The Honor Guard for the United States Marine Corps would say:

"On behalf of the President of the United States, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's service to Country and Corps."

I Got The News Today (IGTNT) , which began in April of 2004 making it one of the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos,  provides members of this community a venue to pay their respects to those who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The IGTNT title is a reminder that nearly every day the family of an active duty service member receives the terrible news that their beloved has died.

Tonight We Remember and Honor:

Staff Sgt Donald V. Stacy
Lance Cpl. John F. Farias
Lance Cpl. Mark R. Goyet

Since 2003 we have suffered the loss of 4469 American lives and a total of 4787 Coalition Forces in Iraq.

Since 2001 we have suffered the loss of 1648 American lives and a total of 2562 Coalition Forces in Afghanistan.

This video, demonstrating the proper protocol for folding a flag, was produced by the Arlington National Cemetery and is narrated by Tom Sherlock, Arlington Historian.

At the end of the day, those soldiers honored the flag and here at Arlington that flag honors them.

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Staff Sgt. Donald v. Stacy, 23, of Avondale, Arizona

Staff Sgt. Donald V. Stacy, 23, of Avondale, Ariz., died June 28 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry   Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.   ~ DoD News Release

Donald Stacy, an only child, joined the Army in 2005 after graduating from Agua Fria High School.

Donald's mother, Felicia Escobedo, said she was told Tuesday that her son was killed.

I was leaving on a trip when two men in full uniform pulled up, I instantly knew this wasn't good.

Staff Sgt. Stacy served two tours in Iraq before being deployed to Afghanistan.

Felicia said her son loved the Army and loved serving his country.

He loved serving, but when he came home he left that world behind and was just your typical skater kid in Dickie shorts.

Even though only 23, Stacy already had earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star along with three Army commendations, two Army achievements and an array of other medals.

Troopers who worked with Stacy spoke of his character and leadership skills in a statement released Wednesday by the 82nd Airborne Division.

Captain Jeff Wismann, commander, 1st Battaion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment Rear Detachment said this:

SSG Stacy's devotion to his fellow paratroopers and his dedication to mission accomplishment set him apart from his peers.  He was both a phenomenal leader and genuine friend and he will truly be missed.

Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Lopez, Command Sergeant Major, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment reported:

I chose Staff Sgt. Donald Vincent Stacy and his squad to deploy to Afghanistan because he was a strong and confident leader who was loved and respected by those he led.  His final actions saved the lives of many.

Davis said Stacy is irreplaceable and his death for his company is "very tough."

The soldiers, they work, live, eat, sleep all together all the time, so they become your family, especially when you're deployed.
"I didn't even know he had so many medals, he kept quiet about it," said his mother.

Staff Sgt. Donald V. Stacy's awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Iraqi Campaign medal, the Global War on Terror Medal, two Overseas Service Ribbons, the Combat Infantryman's Badge and the Parachutist Badge.

Donald Stacy is survived by his mother, Felicia Escobedo, of Avondale.

 ~ Source   ~ Source   ~ Source
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Lance Cpl. John F. Farias, 20, New Braunfels, Texas

Lance Cpl. John F. Farias, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, died June 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.   ~ DoD News Release

John Farias was a 2009 graduate of Canyon High School where he started as defensive end for the Canyon Cougars.  He was into power lifting was a devout Christian, an Eagle Scout and during the summer worked as a lifeguard for the city of New Braunfels.

Lance Cpl Farias' father, Felix Farias said he tried to talk his only son out of joining the Marines when he graduated from high school, but John was determined to follow in the footsteps of his father who was one of seven brothers who served in the military.  John chose to carry on the Farias family tradition.

So I told him, Go ahead we'll support you all the way. I know God's going to be with you and protect you.

For his father's birthday, John Farias sent a letter home telling him how much he loved him. Felix said he wrote a letter back telling his son how proud he was. He planned to mail that letter the day he found out his son was killed. He now plans to place it in his casket, hoping he can read it "from up there."

About three weeks before he died, he sent home a moving video from Afghanistan, with soulful narration by a young man who had matured and come to grips with the responsibilities of adult leadership.

“There wasn't a dry eye in the room when we watched that video,” his father said. “He was a super boy.”

As John Farias' friends and family struggle to cope with his death, they find some comfort in his final message home:

"I love y'all," Farias said in his message. "Y'all take care. Take care of each other, I'll be home soon."

John's parents flew to Dover Air Force Base to witness their son's body arriving home.  His father said:

I'm flying with him. I'm bringing my boy home.

Lance Cpl John F. Farias is survived by his mother, Penny Farias; his father Felix Farias; and a sister, along with numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives.

Plans for his funeral, under arrangements pending with Zoeller Funeral Home, include a service at Tree of Life Church in New Braunfels and a burial in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

 ~ Source   ~ Source   ~ Source  

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Lance Cpl. Mark R. Goyet, 22, of Stinton, Texas

Lance Cpl. Mark R. Goyet, 22, of Sinton, Texas, died June 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.   ~ DoD News Release

The small community of Sinton, Texas is mourning a man many loved and all considered a hometown hero.

Mark's father, Navy Commander Raymond Goyet, said the family has a military service tradition dating back to World War II.  He said his son was a die-hard Red Socks fan as well as an intensely loyal and always happy person.

He loved to make people happy, that’s what made him happy, especially his family.  He loved to make people laugh, especially if he could sense that people weren’t having the best of days, he’d go out of his way to turn their day around.

Raymond Goyet says his son’s Afghanistan tour was his third deployment in three years of service. He was scheduled for discharge in February but volunteered to go to Afghanistan out of loyalty to friends who died there.

David Aken, a friend and former classmate of Mark's said:

"Personally, as a friend, he was a good guy. We played sports together and he was a committed athlete," said Aken. Goyet lettered in football and basketball at Sinton High School, but his impact extended far beyond the field. "He was very smart. Very bright. Very funny. He was always loved by all his teachers and was a very good kid," Aken continued.

Lance Cpl. Mark R. Goyet's  personal service awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Mark R. Goyet's funeral has not yet been set.

 ~ Source   ~ Source   ~ Source

About the IGTNT series:

"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by Sandy on Signal, noweasels,  monkeybiz, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean,  Kestrel9000 and me, JaxDem. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them.

Fallen service members whose names have been released by the US Department of Defense will usually be diarized two days after the official announcement on the DoD website. This allows the IGTNT team to cover each person more fully, but still in a timely manner.

POW/MIA: Afghanistan & Iraq
Two U.S. soldiers are currently listed as captured or Duty Status -- Whereabouts Unknown as of December 1, 2009.

Spc. Ahmed K. Altaie 41
Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl 23

Never forgotten - please keep good thoughts and prayers for these two men.

On December 8, 2010 new photos were published of Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl in captivity.  The article and images can be seen  here.

The father of Bowe R. Bergdahl released this video on May 6, 2011 in which he appeals for the release of his son.  

The Army promoted Bergdahl to the rank of sergeant effective June 12, 2011.  This is his second promotion since he was listed as Missing-Captured on June 30, 2009.
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Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.

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