Remembrance wreath at Fort Gordon honors fallen troops

Wreath stands as tribute to troops killed in wars

It’s not just Christmas but the whole month of Decemb­er that’s hard for Heather Sankadota.

Her first husband, Army Spc. Joseph Lucas, was killed Dec. 15, 2005, by a roadside bomb during his second tour in Iraq. Six years have passed, but the pain is never far away.

“December is a bad month – period,” Sankadota said.

Understanding that many families feel the same way, Survivor Outreach Services at Fort Gordon held a short ceremony Tuesday to unveil this year’s remembrance wreath. The live evergreen wreath, about 3 feet wide, is draped with three red ribbons reading “honor,” “remember” and “love.”

On Tuesday, families placed
sparkling gold star ornaments with their soldiers’ name onto the wreath.

The wreath, which will remain at Freedom Park on the Army post through the end of the year and serve as a place for families to remember their loved one during the holiday.

Sankadota brought her second husband, Michael Sankadota, to the ceremony, along with her son, Joseph Lucas Jr., and Lucas’ brother, Drew Lucas.

Michael Sankadota served in Iraq alongside Lucas, who was a gunner. Sankadota described his friend as “mischievous,” someone who was always upbeat even in the midst of a war.

“Nothing could make him mad, except an alarm clock,” he said.

This was the first year Heather Sankadota attended the ceremony at Fort Gordon, and she plans to make another visit to the memorial this month.

“It’s nice to have something here,” she said.

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