Fallen Friends' ceremony honors Cpl. Washam
April 13, 2006
HUNTSVILLE — The entire student body of Scott High School gathered with the school’s faculty, representatives of the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Marine Corps League and Fallen Friends in the school’s gymnasium on Tuesday morning to pay tribute to fallen Marine Cpl. Rusty Washam and to honor his family.
Washam, who was killed in combat in Iraq on February 14, graduated from Scott High School in 2003.
During Tuesday’s ceremony, Marines presented Cpl. Washam’s mother, Beverly Washam, and his widow, Megan Washam, with medallions issued by Fallen Friends, a nationwide organization that recognizes military members and law enforcement officers who are killed in the line of duty.
Members of the USMC League were also on hand to present Mrs. Washam and Megan Washam with plaques expressing appreciation for the sacrifice given by Cpl. Washam. The USMC League also presented Cpl. Washam’s father, Sonny Washam, with a plaque in memory of his brother, Denny Lee Washam, who also served in the Marine Corps and was killed while serving in Vietnam.
The ceremony’s keynote speaker, Lynn Raye, a former teacher at Burchfield Elementary School and currently principal at Jacksboro Elementary School, told the audience assembled in the gymnasium that liberty comes with a price. “The liberties you have and the freedoms you have are paid for by men like Rusty Washam,” he said. “They’re paid for by men like George Washington, men like Sgt. York. Men who served under Eisenhower and in Vietnam.
“You have the liberty to pursue whatever makes you happy,” he added, “and that was bought and paid for by the blood of men and the hearts of men like Rusty Washam. If we forget the cost of liberty, we will be headed in a dark direction.”
Ray quoted a verse of Biblical scripture, John 15:13, saying, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Ray said that Washam “represented his school well. He was 100 percent Semper Fi. He was gung-ho. He paid the ultimate price.”
Bob Parker, president of the Fallen Friends organization, echoed Ray’s sentiments.
“Freedom is not free,” he said. “It’s bought with a price and its kept with a price. Rusty paid the price.”
Scott High Principal Sharon Wilson reminded students that Cpl. Washam was “a member of the Highlander family,” stating that he joined the Marines two months out of high school, and that on February 21, he made his final journey home as “a true American hero who made the ultimate sacrifice.”