As Veterans Day approaches, we will all have those that are serving or have served our country on our minds. This Sunday, Nov. 11, will be a day of not just remembrance. This day will be our chance to give our thanks to those who have protected us. There is so much sacrificed for all of us here in the United States to remain safe. We are able to continue living our lives with normalcy, when so many out their live anything but normal lives. Unfortunately they have in too many cases lost their lives completely.

Because of these great, great sacrifices, these men and women deserve more than one day of thanks and remembrance. Those who have served our country deserve for all of us, every day to think of them. It is unfair that they are out there living in danger for us and we only give them one day of our lives.

Their families are giving them every day, unlike most of us who deliver only on Veteran's Day. Their hearts and minds are no longer here in East Texas, they are far across this world with the ones they love. When these families lose that loved one, they have also given for all of our freedom. I believe our veterans' families are deserving of our thoughts and prayers as well as those fighting for our country.

I hope anyone who has served this country or is serving at the moment feels the love that is felt for them for these sacrifices. I hope that the families of those removed from their side and of those that have been lost feel this love and thanks as well.

Let Veteran's Day be the day we all show our support for the troops, our love for them and their families, and remember what is being sacrificed for us all. Also, I beg that this day not be the only day that we acknowledge these heroes.

For those who have fallen, our hearts and minds are completely focused on you and all that you have given. We thank you. You will never be forgotten.

Below we have listed East Texans who have died in war in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002. While our history in war goes way back -- and we certainly thank and honor all of those who have lost their lives no matter what circumstance or war -- these wars have been fresh on our mind for a decade, and we want to acknowledge these soldiers.

Let's all take this time to remember them, thank them, and offer our thoughts and prayers for their families and friends.

1st Sgt. Russell Bell

Hometown: Tyler
Branch: Army
Died: Aug. 2, 2012. 1st Sgt. Bell died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his group encountered a makeshift enemy bomb.

Sgt. Tanner S. Higgins

Hometown: Yantis
Branch: Army
Died: April 14, 2012. Sgt. Higgins died in Afghanistan from wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by enemy forces.

Spec. David W. Taylor

Hometown: Dixon
Branch: Army
Died: March 29, 2012. Spec. David Taylor Died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan serving our country.

Chief Warrant Officer Bradley J. Gaudet

Hometown: Gladewater
Branch: Army
Died: June 5, 2011. Passed away in Khost province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered as the result of a helicopter crash.

Sgt. Joshua D. Powell

Hometown: Quitman
Branch: Army
Died: June 4, 2011. Died of wounds suffered in Laghman province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked their unit with a makeshift bomb.

Staff Sgt. Chauncy R. Mays

Hometown: Cookville
Branch: Army
Died: February 28, 2011. Died in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with a makeshift bomb.

Sgt. Zainah C. Creamer

Hometown: Texarkana
Branch: Army
Died: January 12, 2011. Died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked her unit with a makeshift bomb.

Sgt. Kyle B. Stout

Hometown: Texarkana
Branch: Army
Died: July 30, 2010. Died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit with a makeshift bomb.

Sgt. Kenneth B. May Jr.

Hometown: Kilgore
Branch: Marines
Died: May 11, 2010. Died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Richard J. Jordan

Hometown: Tyler
Branch: Army
Died: March 16, 2010. Died in Mosul, Iraq, of injuries sustained during a vehicle roll-over.

Chief Warrant Officer Billie J. Grinder

Hometown: Gallatin
Branch: Army
Died: Febraury 21, 2010. Died in Qayyarah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter had a hard landing.

Sgt. 1st Class Alejandro Granado

Hometown: Longview
Branch: Army National Guard
Died: August 2, 2009. Killed when insurgents attacked their vehicle with a makeshift bomb.

Pfc. Heath K. Pickard

Hometown: Palestine
Branch: Army
Died: October 16, 2008. Died in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when he received indirect fire in Baquaba, Iraq.

Spec. Cory J. Bertrand

Hometown: Center
Branch: Army
Died: October 14, 2008. Died in Qazi Bandeh, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered a makeshift bomb.

Pvt. John A. Mattox

Hometown: Daingerfield
Branch: Army
Died: August 10, 2008. Died at Forward Operating Base Bostick, Afghanistan, after being injured in a non-combat related incident.

Sgt. Samuel E. Kelsey

Hometown: Troup
Branch: Army
Died: December 13, 2007. Killed by a makeshift bomb in Tunnis, Iraq.

Pvt. Christopher M. McCloud

Hometown: Malakoff
Branch: Army
Died: September 14, 2007. Killed when a makeshift bomb detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Baghdad.

Staff Sgt. John C. Stock

Hometown: Longview
Branch: Marines
Died: September 6, 2007. Killed while conducting combat operations in Anbar province.

Spec. Tracy C. Willis

Hometown: Marshall
Branch: Army
Died: August 26, 2007. Killed in Samarra when his unit was attacked during combat operations.

Spec. James L. Adair

Hometown: Carthage
Branch: Army
Died: June 29, 2007. Killed when his vehicle struck a makeshift bomb in Baghdad.

Sgt. Jimy M. Malone

Hometown: Wills Point
Branch: Army
Died: June 23, 2007. Killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near their vehicle in Taji, Iraq.

Pfc. Allen B. Jaynes

Hometown: Henderson
Branch: Army
Died: January 20, 2007. Killed when a makeshift bomb detonated near his vehicle.

Spec. Dominic J. Hinton

Hometown: Jacksonville
Branch: Army
Died: November 19, 2005. Killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near his Humvee during combat operations in Bayji.

Spec. Larry E. Polley, Jr.

Hometown: Center
Branch: Army
Died: January 17, 2004. Killed when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle struck a makeshift bomb north of Taji.

Pfc. Stephen E. Wyatt

Hometown: Kilgore
Branch: Army
Died: October 13, 2003. Killed when his convoy was hit by a makeshift bomb and small arms fire in Balad.

Spec. Joseph D. Suell

Hometown: Lufkin
Branch: Army
Died: June 16, 2003. Suell died from a non-combat related cause.


We apologize in advance if we have left anyone off this list. Feel free to comment below with their information and we will add their names to the list as soon as possible.

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