Columbus— Army Sgt. Gary “Andy” Eckert lost his life to a roadside bomb during his second tour of duty in Iraq nearly a decade ago.
He was 24 years old.
On May 22, his wife, Tiffany, was at the Ohio Statehouse, helping to honor the families of other fallen military men and women.
“Recently, I was asked what Memorial Day means to me,” the Toledo-area woman told attendees at the pre-Memorial Day remembrance. “... This day is about the war dead, the countless thousands and their fellow soldiers that wish they could have taken their buddies place. It’s about the wounded warriors with visible and invisible scars. It’s about the ones that have lost their battle with [post-traumatic stress disorder] and have taken their own lives to silence the pain. It’s about the silver-haired grandpa who wears his colors with pride and passes out poppies every year in remembrance of his brothers who didn’t make it home with him.”
Tiffany Eckert offered her comments during the governor’s annual wreath laying ceremony at the Statehouse.
Her son, Myles, gained national attention when he gave a $20 bill he found in a restaurant parking lot to a soldier, along with a note of gratitude.
Myles sat next to the Gov. John Kasich and helped advance the ceremonial wreath honoring Ohioans killed in military service.
“We all have a certain charge who are here today, the military that’s here, the members of the legislature that are here,” Kasich said. “I think our obligation is pretty simple: heal the world, do the best we can, don’t let these people, who made the sacrifice for our country, don’t have them die in vain. They stood up and had courage and lost their lives. ... We’re here to do a job, we’re here to stand up we’re here to have courage. And we’re here to remember these wonderful people who lived these wonderful lives.”
The governor’s ceremony came after a joint session of the Ohio House and Senate, where lawmakers presented Military Medals of Distinction to the families of soldiers and Marines who died in service over the past year.
“These are the heroes who won’t have their pictures on boxes of cereal, who won’t have tennis shoes named after them, but who are heroes …,” said Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina). “Literally, these are the heroes who have built and sustained this great nation, which we call home.”
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.