Thursday, June 1, 2006

Ultimate Sacrifice

I have been enjoying my two week "vacation", but summer school begins on June 5th. I still needed to buy my textbooks. I also still wanted to have my sister's boyfriend gives me a tour of the McKenna Children's Museum where he works. So, yesterday, I drove from Austin down to San Marcos, bought my books, then drove down to New Braunfels to go to get my tour - you can't just go into the McKenna Children's Museum unless you have kids with you.

It was about 2 o'clock when my tour was complete. I told J I would see him at the ballgame later that night, and went to my car. As I was getting in the car, I noticed a funeral procession going down the street. When I saw all the motorcycles with American flags, I just knew it was a military funeral. This thought was further reinforced when I saw one of the riders wearing the new Army camoflauge. Once all the motorcycles had passed, I also noticed some passengers in the cars were also in military uniforms. When I got home, I checked the Patriot Guard Riders website, but didn't see any Mission for New Braunfels listed - today, I see it was listed as San Antonio.

Today, I went to the website for The Herald-Zeitung, which serves New Braunfels. There, I learned whose funeral procession I had seen as I was leaving the museum. LTC Daniel Edward Holland was killed on May 18th in Baghdad while on a humanitarian mission when an IED detonated near his HMMWV. Also killed in the explosion were 1LT Robert A. Seidel III, SGT Lonnie C. Allen Jr., PFC Nicholas R. Cournoyer, and an Iraqi interpreter.

LTC Holland leaves behind a wife, Sheryl, and two children, Garrett and Rachel. He is also survived by his parents, his in-laws, nine siblings (and their spouses), as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He liked spending time with his family, and sharing his love of animals and the outdoors with his children. He had earned his DVM degree in 1988. Had LTC Holland not been killed, he would have trained Veterinary Corps troops at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio upon his return from Iraq.

Rumor had it that the members of the Westboro Baptist Church were to be protesting the funeral. Luckily, they didn't show, but the Patriot Guard Riders accompanied the funeral procession from Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church in New Braunfels to Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, where LTC Holland was buried with full military honors.

The family has requested memorial contributions be made either to
The Christian Veterinary Mission (206-546-7569) or any fund that supports wounded soldiers (I would recommend either Operation Comfort or Soldiers' Angels.

DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Herald-Zeitung obituaries, May 28, 2006
The Herald-Zeitung, Soldier’s life, legacy celebrated, June 1, 2006
The Herald-Zeitung, Riders come to honor soldier, June 1, 2006

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