The Department of Defense announced today the death of a South Carolina soldier supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sgt. Aaron M. Arthur, 25, of Lake City, died March 8 north of Al Kut, Iraq, of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over. He was assigned to the 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, attached to the First Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, Third Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.
Such notifications happened in South Carolina 10 times in the past year. Families like the Fowlkes of Gaffney still struggle with the grief. Dominick Fowlkes wrote about it after his brother Lance Corporal Christopher Fowlkes was mortally wounded in Afghanistan.
(Listen to Fowlkes’ poem, “The War” MP3 :40)
Listen to poem of Dominick Fowlkes, 6th Grade
Today Sen. Jake Knotts hosted the annual Fallen Soldiers Ceremony and luncheon across from the Statehouse. The Senate will also pay tribute to the families of soldiers who have died in military service in the past year.
Events like this do make a difference, says Chris Fowlkes father, Steve: “For me, personally, talking to other people helps me with, well, getting back to where I should be…but I’m still proud.”
Steve and Donna Fowlkes were with their son in the hospital in Germany when he passed away. Donna Fowlkes offers to other military parents, ” Just be proud of him. that’s all you can do is rest on the pride that you have for your children when they do that.”
Senator Knotts says even though he hosts this event every year, he’d love to never have to again: “That would be a great day for South Carolina if we didn’t lose someone.”
Honored today were: Specialist Larry Curtis Applegate, Private First Class Jason R. Watson, Specialist Justin Antisdel, Staff Sergeant Raphael A. Futrell, Captain Mark McDowell, Specialist Abraham S. Wheeler III, Lance Corporal Christopher Fowlkes, Sergeant Demetrius Void, Lance Corporal Mills Palmer Bigham, and Private First Class Robert E. Foster.