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American Homefront

MacDill Air Force Base Memorial Day Ceremonies

The wail of bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.” The sharp crack of three rifle volleys being fired. The playing of “Taps.”  All the traditional Memorial Days moments were present at the MacDill Air Force Base Memorial Day ceremony.

Also there in full dress uniform: units from Special Operations Command, Central Command, the Joint Communications Special Element and the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

Military families and dozens of civilians, invited by MacDill Air Force Base Commander Col. Lenny Richoux, sat on folding chairs under the morning sun.

Richoux said Memorial Day is equally important to respects to the fallen but also remember their families.

“We want them to know that their loved one’s service was for the right causes and the right reasons,” Richoux said after the 30 minute ceremony. “We thank them and we remember them and we stand with them as they continue to grieve the losses of their loved ones.”

Memorial Day holds special significance for Army Ranger Col. Wayne Tasler who is serving with Special Operations Command. Tasler’s father, a Korean War veteran, used to take him to Memorial Day celebrations.

“He was a member of the American Legion and he took me out these events every Memorial Day,” Tasler said adding that those events developed his appreciation for the men and women who served in wars before him. “It’s something now for me to honor our fallen as well as reflect back on the experience growing up with my father.”

Another Korean War veteran was Air Force Tech Sergeant Eric Johanson’s dad. He served in the Navy on the USS Missouri for four years.

Johanson has served 19 years in the Air Force. He’s with MacDill’s Air Force special missions’ travel that takes dignitaries and Air Force leaders throughout the world. But, he’s partial to the Tampa Bay community.

“Everywhere I’ve gone, it’s positive feedback. It’s can we help you, would you like this discount or thank you,” Johanson said before the ceremony. “I’ve received more thank yous just being in the military in this area than any other.”

Below is a video of the presentation of the colors and singing of the National Anthem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnm-U61FrY4&list=UUsN1ZItTKcJ4AGsBIni35gg&index=2&feature=plcp