Friday, November 19, 2010

An American Hero Laid To Rest

Bill O'Boyle of the Times Leader attended the funeral of Spc. Dale Kridlo, an American Hero, laid to rest today at Arlington National Cemetary. O'Boyle's historical memory of this day recalls those who attended this military honors service.

The service was held at 3 p.m. in section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery. Four American flags were presented to the family, with Spc. Kridlo’s mother, Michelle Dale, receiving the flag that draped her son’s casket. The other three flags were presented to Albert Kridlo, the soldier’s father, and to his twin daughters, Madelyne and Zoe.

Presenting the flags was Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst, Commanding General, Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. The presiding chaplain was Col. Steven Berry.

Also attending the ceremony was Deborah Mullen, wife of the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, and Pat Halliman, Arlington National Cemetery superintendent.

The military honors service included a casket team, firing party and a bugler. The participants were from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard.”

With Kridlo’s interment, Arlington National Cemetery is now the final resting place for 189 service members who have lost their lives in Afghanistan.

The firing party fired three rifle volleys as the somber ceremony drew to a close. This is not a 21-gun salute, which is an honor reserved for the President of the U.S., former presidents, and foreign heads of state.

The family arrived earlier in the day and a procession brought the casket to the gravesite. As Spc. Kridlo was brought to the waiting bier, his family followed. His parents, children, brother and ex-wife occupied the front row. Maj. Gen. Horst delivered an address on the duty of a soldier and Chaplain Stevens led the crowd in prayer and offered a final blessing.

Before each flag was presented to the family, it was touched to Kridlo’s casket.

The ceremony was held adjacent to Spc. Kridlo’s grave because of wet conditions at the cemetery. The casket was interred after the service and after the family left the site.

Included among the crowd was U.S. Senator Robert Casey and U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, along with U.S. Rep.-elected Lou Barletta and Tom Marino.

“We wanted to come and pay our respects to a true American hero who lost his life serving his country,” Barletta said.

Also attending was Candice Ostott of the Arlington Ladies, an Arlington volunteer organization that sends a representative to every burial to assure that no soldier is buried alone.

Marino said he remembers when veterans returned from the Vietnam War and did not receive the reception that all returning soldiers deserve.

“Spc. Kridlo is another soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us,” Marino said. “He died to protect us and his country. He is the reason we are all allowed to live the way we do - free.”

Marino and Barletta expressed deep heartfelt sympathy for Kridlo’s family.

I can’t imagine what they are going through right now," Marino said. “We wanted to let them know that we are here if they need us. We’re just a phone call away.”

Barletta said the experience of seeing Kridlo buried at Arlington was both humbling and sobering.

Senator Robert Casey also attended the service.

Spc. Dale Kridlo's memory as an American Hero will never be forgotten. The ultimate sacrifice he gave in the name of the United States of America represents his gift of Humanity to all of us. Like virginity it can only be given once. God cannot return the most precious gift soldiers give to their country. May God grant him piece and look over his family. Thank you Spc. Dale Kridlo.

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