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Honoring Shane

Cody VFW Post 2673 Honor Guard members Gary Brown (at right foreground) and Russ Dupuis (partially obscured) return to their seats after posting the colors during a Memorial Day ceremony in Cody. Cody VFW Post 2673 Honor Guard members Gary Brown (at right foreground) and Russ Dupuis (partially obscured) return to their seats after posting the colors during a Memorial Day ceremony in Cody. Tribune photo by CJ Baker

Street dedicated, monument unveiled in honor of fallen Marine

We’re here to celebrate an American hero,” said Major General Steven A. Hummer, U.S. Marine Corps, to dozens of residents who gathered Monday in the rain along “Lt. Childers Street.”

On Memorial Day, the Cody street was dedicated to honor the heroic life and sacrifice of 1st Lt. Shane Childers, who was the first U.S. serviceman to die in the Iraq war. The esteemed Marine was killed in action while leading his men during an assault on a pumping station on March 21, 2003.

A stone monument in Childers’ honor, which faces Lt. Childers Street and bears Wyoming’s bucking bronco emblem, was unveiled Monday by his parents, Joseph and Judy Childers of Powell.

“This Memorial Day isn’t just about our son,” said Joseph Childers. “I can’t think of our loss without thinking of all the other families who have lost sons and daughters in service to this country.”

The monument and street named for 1st Lt. Shane Childers are located in Cody alongside the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Park, honoring those who have served America in wars over the decades.

During Monday’s ceremony, Powell Mayor Scott Mangold read the names of others who are etched in history as the first casualties of wars — fallen soldiers from the Civil War, Vietnam, and Korea.

“Each community dealt with a first fallen, and for Powell, we did have a sense of pride — pride in what Shane was and where he came from,” Mangold said.

Shane Childers joined the U.S. Marine Corps in July 1990, shortly after his high school graduation. He served in the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm and was assigned to Marine Security Guard Duty later, serving at the American Consulate in Geneva, Switzerland and then the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.

“These are hand-selected Marines that, because of their backgrounds, receive very high security clearances so they can be deployed to American Embassies overseas,” Major General Hummer said.

Childers went on to attend the Citadel after being selected for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program. Upon his graduation, he was commissioned a second lieutenant on June 15, 2001 — just a few months before the deadly terrorist attacks of 9/11. He was posthumously promoted to first lieutenant.

“He was described as a born leader. Focused and serious, he built his life around being a Marine,” Major General Hummer said.

“One of the things that makes us proud was that Shane’s platoon all came home,” Joseph Childers said. “He trained them well. He did his job, and we thank you all for honoring our son today.”

Joseph Childers described the family’s lasting loss and grief since Shane’s death in 2003.

“First there’s shock, there’s grief, then hurt that goes extremely deep, to where you think you can’t hardly stand it,” Joseph Childers said.

“We haven’t had to bear this burden alone,” he added. “We’ve been able to share it and have had the support of family, friends, neighbors, Shane’s friends from all over the world, the United States Marine Corps … and all the people across the country who also felt our loss.”

“Our hearts go out to you, and they have for some time,” Hummer said. “Thank you for your sacrifice, for Shane’s sacrifice.”

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2 comments

  • posted by Morgan Rose

    June 02, 2011 5:15 pm

    He was a real pleasure to have as a friend, I still miss him and know Aunt Judy and Uncle Joe do too.

  • posted by Phyllis Hughes

    June 02, 2011 3:32 pm

    Makes me proud to be from Powell/Cody today. As Maj General Hummer said to his family,.....Thank you for you sacrifice.
    God Bless and keep the family.

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