Fallen Marine Eric Ward to be honored at Mount Si football game

Mount Si High School’s Friday, Oct. 1, home football game will include a sombre interlude, as members of the Valley’s American Legion post and a U.S. Marine color guard remember fallen soldier Eric Ward.

Plaques bearing Lance Cpl. Ward’s name and recognizing Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan will be placed at the veteran’s monument at the stadium.

Ward, 19, a 2008 Mount Si graduate, was killed as a result of enemy action last February on Afghanistan’s Helmand province. He is the first Mount Si graduate to die in the Middle Eastern/Asian conflict.

Ward’s family and close friends have been invited to attend the ceremony, both on the field and at the memorial site. The name plaque will be presented to them for installation.

“We’re extremely honored,” said Ward’s mother, Ames Lake resident Monica McNeal.

In the last six months, McNeal has become very close to Ward’s brothers-in-arms in his Marine Corps Second Battalion, Second Marine Division, the 2/2 Warlords. These young Marines knowingly make huge sacrifices for their country, she said.

“If they miss a birthday, they miss the birth of a child,” McNeal said. “They don’t think twice. They do it very humbly.”

Her son was only one of many to give their lives in service to their country, she said.

McNeal, who distributes bracelets commemorating Ward’s life, said she is comforted by her role as an adopted mother to her son’s fellow soldiers.

Marines told her that they have captured the former Taliban strongpoint close to where Eric was killed.

When she receives the plaque Friday, “I’m going to do it for the 2-2s and those boys who were there with Eric,” McNeal said.

The Renton-Pickering American Legion Post’s honor guard will accompany the Marines and fire a three-volley salute. Mount Si Principal Randy Taylor will speak.

Donations to support the high school memorial can be made to American Legion Post #79 at the Bank of America or by mail to PO Box 359, Snoqualmie, WA 98065.

A fundraiser for an all-Valley veteran’s memorial at the Legion Post is under way. Those donations can be made to the Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum.

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