Woodstock to honor fallen soldier on Veterans Day
by Joshua Sharpe
November 07, 2013 11:00 PM | 2152 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joshua Strickland
Less than two months after a former Etowah High student turned U.S. Army Special Forces soldier was killed in Afghanistan, his former hometown of Woodstock is planning to immortalize his name on the city’s war memorial downtown.

During its Veterans Day ceremony at the Park at City Center on Monday night, the city of Wood-

stock will add Spc. Joshua “Jay” Strick- land’s name to its veterans memorial in an effort to show what his sacrifice means to the city, said Marybeth Stockdale, Woodstock’s special events coordinator.

Strickland, 23, was one of three soldiers shot and killed by an Afghan soldier Sept. 21 during a training exercise in Gardez, Afghanistan. Strickland was buried Oct. 5 at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Wash., where his wife, child and two stepchildren live.

Strickland’s mother, Beth Strickland Funk, will be flying in for the ceremony from her home in Texas, where she moved after living in Woodstock for about three years.

“It means a lot to me,” Funk said. “They’re honoring my son.”

Although the former Woodstock resident died just weeks ago, Stockdale said it was important for the city to make time to honor him during the Veterans Day program, which will also include a candlelight vigil and other presentations.

“Woodstock is a very, very patriotic community,” Stockdale said.

And adding names like Strickland’s to the memorial, which has 12 names of other fallen Woodstock soldiers, hopefully shows how much patriotism means to the city, Stockdale said.

“I think it shows that we’re a community and that we support what they do and what they sacrifice for us,” she said. “I think it gives the family a little bit of peace of knowing that we’re there for them and we’re not forgetting them.”

South Cherokee American Legion Post 316 Commander Irma Martin, who has worked closely in planning the ceremony for Strickland, also said it’s important to honor the soldier for paying “the ultimate sacrifice.”

“You always hope that everybody comes back, but the reality is that doesn’t always happen,” Martin said. “We don’t want people to forget them. They’re real people. They’re a part of us.”

For Funk, the message Woodstock and the American Legion are trying to send is coming through clearly and is helping her deal with her loss.

“It’s a step toward the healing phase,” she said. “It’s one step at a time, one day at a time, one hour at a time. I’m still just trying to put the pieces together one by one.”

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