Remembering a fallen soldier

October 14, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

A light, nearly indiscernible rain fell Saturday morning as family and honor guard members gathered to remember Patrick Howard Roy, who was killed two years ago aboard the USS Cole.

Roy was 19 years old.

Roy's father, Michael Roy, called the day one of "contrast."

As he mourned the loss of one of his sons, American families could be on the verge of seeing their sons and daughters sent to war, he said.

"I'm real concerned, I'm real worried," he said.

Roy said no family should have to go through what he has - and did Saturday, watching quietly as honor guard members saluted his son's grave, placed a wreath next to it and played a scratchy recording of "Taps" from a portable cassette player.


"I honestly see no reason to sacrifice anybody, and that includes Iraqis as much as anyone else," he said. "We rely far too much on force."

Patrick Roy, a Navy fireman from Keedysville, was one of 17 sailors aboard the USS Cole who died Oct. 12, 2000, when terrorists in a small boat pulled alongside the destroyer. Using explosives, the terrorists blew a hole in Cole's side.

Also killed was Seaman Thomas Wibberley, 19, of Williamsport.

Roy's body was returned to the United States 10 days after the bombing. At a memorial service a few days later, friends remembered Roy, who graduated in 1999 from Storm King, a private high school in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., and immediately enlisted in the Navy.

"He was a tow-headed, all-American boy. He was just a really sensitive, caring young man," said Mike Pratt, 51, of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Pratt's son, Jacob, was one of Roy's best friends growing up.

At the memorial service held under dark skies Saturday, Michael Horst, commander of local VFW Post 1936, spoke briefly.

"We're here today to honor a young man who gave his life for our country," Horst said. "He walks with his fellow veterans."

Local VFW members will perform the same ceremony every year on Oct. 12 for the next 20 years, he said.

Edward S. Banas Sr., senior vice commander in chief of the VFW, came from Kansas City for the ceremony. He and another man carried a wreath, which was on a metal stand, and placed it to the left of Roy's small, simple tombstone.

Roy received a Purple Heart.

Sometime before the ceremony, an unknown person had smeared mud on the front of Roy's tombstone and placed some quarters on it.

VFW members wiped off the stone before Roy's family arrived.

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