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St. Joseph honors fallen servicemen, families

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
Nov. 11, 2010 at 5:11 a.m.

Madie Green, 4, holds a wooden cross given to her family in honor of Sgt. Anthony Gabe Green, of Yorktown, who died in combat on Oct. 16, 2009. They received the cross from St. Joseph High School students during a Veterans Day program that honored recently fallen soldiers.

Those honoredFallen servicemen honored at the St. Joseph High School ceremony:

Army Spc. Richard Arriaga, 20, of Ganado, died Sept. 18, 2003

Marine Cpl. Andres Aguilar Jr., 21, of Victoria, died April 2, 2006

Army Cpl. Gary Walters Jr., 31, of Victoria, died April 24, 2005

Army Sgt. Anthony "Gabe" Green, 28, of Yorktown, died Oct. 16, 2009

Madie Green, the 4-year-old daughter of the late Sgt. Anthony "Gabe" Green of Yorktown, toyed with a wooden cross given to her family in his memory.

St. Joseph High School students recognized veterans and four families of fallen service men and women at a Thursday morning service with the crosses, songs and prayer.

Lindsay Green, Green's widow, spoke publicly for the first time since his death about a year ago.

"It's a hard thing," she said, after watching the ceremony. "It's kind of opened everything back up, but it's very, very enlightening to see what good can come out of it, too."

St. Joseph President William McArdle, a retired Army staff sergeant, spoke at the service.

"Our security and freedom did not come cheaply," he said. "Part of the cost has already been paid by Americans who answered the call of military duty when their country needed them."

The service also recognized top students who sold Warriors' Weekend Field of Honor flags as part of a school fundraiser. The senior class sold 740 flags, the most to ever be put on the field.

Ret. Col. Michael Petrash said the goal for the year is 1,000 flags.

"St. Joseph seniors have put us three-quarters to that goal, and we haven't even reached the new year, hooah," he said.

The seniors earned half of the money from the flag sales, a total of $14,800, to help with the senior Project Graduation event.

"I think definitely everybody had more initiative to sell the flags just because it is such a good cause," said Danielle Hill, a 17-year-old senior. "It has meaning behind it. It's not just an item to make money, it was for the veterans and people who are very close to many of us."

Life-sized banners of four fallen servicemen hung from the gym ceiling above their families.

For Andres Aguilar, the wounds from his son's 2006 death in Iraq are still tender, but the ceremony was about healing.

"It hurts, but I don't mind because they're remembering our son, his memory and what he sacrificed," he said. "It's something that helps us in the healing process as well."

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