Wednesday, May 4, 2011

WE WILL REMEMBER YOU, STAFF SGT. JUSTICE

There was plenty of sun and even more wind in Manning, Iowa today at a packed IKM Manning gymnasium of family, friends and military personnel  who paid their last respects to Staff Sgt. James Justice.   

Justice was killed on April 23, 2011 and was 32 years of age.  After completing a routine security patrol at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, word was received of a downed OH-58 Kiowa helicopter in the neighboring Kapisa province north east of Kabul.   Justice and some of his fellow soldiers from the Iowa Army National Guard’s Alpha Troop 1st Squadron 113th Cavalry boarded a UH 60 Black Hawk helicopter to rescue the two man crew of the downed helicopter. After their craft landed the group came under small arms fire. 

Staff Sgt. James Justice

Three good friends of Justice, Major Jason Erb, Jeremy Vennick and Tyler Christianson reminisced of their days of growing up in small town Iowa.  All three spoke highly of their decorated friend, the one with an infectious personality.  Each offered a little different look at Justice.  I couldn't help but think of the difficulty it had to have been for them to stand in front of a room of hundreds of people minus their best buddy.  Strong, yet full of emotion, humorous yet factual, they told stories only a select few knew of before.  When they were finished with their rememberances, the three made their way off the stage and hugged Staff Sgt. Justice's wife, Amanda and other family members.

Jessica Fine, a co-worker of Amanda's, described Justice as a special friend despite knowing him just a short time.  “And I am honored to have known James because of the husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend that he was,” Fine said, “he died serving a country that he loved, and I can’t wait until the day when I can tell Caydence (his daughter) about what a hero and honorable man her daddy really was.”

Without question, it was a day to remember.  Vocalist Anya Paulette added further evidence to that theme in singing a song by Sarah McLachlan, "I Will Remember You".  It was the perfect song delivered perfectly.......

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so tired but I can't sleep
Standin' on the edge of something much too deep
It's funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word
Though we are screaming inside oh we can't be heard

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so afraid to love you, but more afraid to loose -]
Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose
But once there was a darkness, deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me light

That I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories


At the conclusion of the ceremony, more than 50 pair of military personnel made their way to Justice's coffin for the traditional salute to the fallen soldier.  That alone was something to remember.....yet, there was a whole lot more.  We will remember you Staff Sgt. Justice.

Rest in peace.

Justice is survived by his wife Amanda and three-year-old daughter Caydence of Grimes; parents Larry and Lillian Justice of Manilla; brother Kenneth Justice of Manilla; sisters Denise Christensen of Manilla and Christina Lingle (Kevin) of Manilla; and parents-in-law Bill and Sue Sand of Eau Claire, WI;

YGG,

John

4 comments:

  1. I was at SSG Justice's service, also. He was a member of my younger son's unit, and I attended with him, home on leave, and his wife, and some other Cav wives. My oldest son knew him from Camp Dodge. It was touching, and all the slow salutes were especially poignant.
    Thank you for your continuing telling of these events. I am so glad your son came away from his close call relatively unscathed. May they all continue to be so fortunate.

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  2. Garry...very poignant service. Certainly the show of numbers was awesome! I'm glad you all were able to attend and offer your support. I'm sure the Justice family, despite their sorrow, were overcome with every type of emotion...but seeing such a turnout had to be uplifting for them.

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  3. I just happened to stumble upon this post -- late night, can't sleep, googling. It is one of the few that I haven't read before. Anyway, thank you for the beautiful write up. I know it is very belated, but it is appreciated.
    -Amanda Justice

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  4. Amanda: You're quite welcome. James service was extremely moving and one I will always remember. Keep the faith and if there is anything I can ever do for you or your family...let me know. I'm sure there are days where you think James efforts have been forgotten. Don't. There are multitudes of people praying for you and your future.

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