Victorians hold vigil for veterans lost in Midland (Video)

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Nov. 17, 2012 at 5:17 a.m.


Victorians prayed Friday night for the military families whose hearts will be aching this Thanksgiving.

Faith Family Church hosted a vigil at 7 p.m. for the wounded veterans killed and injured in a parade procession gone awry. A freight train slammed into a float carrying a group of veterans during a Wounded Warrior appreciation event in Midland on Thursday.

Bundled up, about 25 people holding electronic candles gathered around a large, white cross at 2002 East Mockingbird Lane to pray, admire the American flag and listen to taps.

Sharon Burns said they planned the event on short notice. She wasn’t even sure a spotlight someone donated to illuminate the field would be there on time.

“They said, ‘It’ll be burning when you get here,’” the mother of three military sons said, smiling at the light beam.

Ron Kocian, the president of the Victoria’s Warrior’s Weekend, said a tragedy like this could happen anywhere, but the procession his organization runs in May doesn’t “inch along.”

“We do cross railroad tracks, but we have professional drivers carry them,” he said of the 14 charter buses and one hospital van used this year.

“These were good people doing good things,” Kocian said. “Somebody just made an error in judgment.”

Retired Marine Gilbert Ramon, who deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, was among the crowd. He said he came out of respect.

“I lost a Marine I worked with over in Iraq, and I know how it feels to be over there and to come home,” Ramon said. “It’s just terrible.”

Col. Michael Petrash, with Victoria’s Wounded Warriors organization, urged the community to keep supporting their service members.

“Everything we can do for these wounded soldiers still wouldn’t be enough,” he said.



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