Service members’ sacrifices remembered for Independence Day

Special to Leader-Press 

FORT HOOD — Teen Miss Five Hills Carleigh Ross reached for each combat boot, handling them gently from the military trucks as she and other members of the Five Hills royalty helped memorialize more than 7,000 service members who have lost their lives  since 9-11. 
The Five Hills royalty joined hundreds of others that stepped out on the III Corps parade field on Fort Hood shortly after sunrise on Saturday to participate in the Fort Hood Remembrance 5K Run/Walk. But after crossing the finish line, the volunteers to help line up the boots being moved from the walk route to the field in front of the military headquarters was fewer than 25.  
“Being the daughter of a soldier really put in perspective that each of those boots represented a soldier’s life, a soldier with a family and friends and individual personalities,” Ross said. “Walking along the route, I read the soldiers’ cards and studied their faces, wondering what they were like and if their families were there watching too. I pictured each soldier standing in his boots, which brought me to tears as the boots were lined shoulder to shoulder on each side of the route throughout the enormous length of the 5K. It made honoring each of the soldiers that the boots represented personal. 
“Realizing the weight of these lives lost for our country also brought the realization of the innumerable lives fighting still today, just like my dad.”
The royalty also supported the monthly chamber mixer and hosted their weekly games of summer bingo at a local Cove nursing home.  
In royal sightings this week, look for the royalty to represent the City of Copperas Cove in the Belton 4th of July Parade.  In adherence with the theme, Proud to be an American, the royalty will be joined on the float by service members of every branch of the military—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The parade is televised live on KCEN-Channel 6 and begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday.  
The titleholders will also celebrate Independence Day with residents at one of the local nursing homes, and assist with the Operation Family Matters Festival.

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