The Big Red One Ceremony


Sophomore RaShawn Parent placed the wreath at the memorial last Monday.

Arsema Solomon '15, After School Editor

This past Memorial Day, many fallen soldiers were remembered and honored for their valiant and honorable services to our country. One of the biggest events held on Memorial day is the Society of the First Infantry Division’s Big Red One ceremony. During this event, veterans, family, and friends are invited to attend the memorial service held at the First Division Monument located in Washington D.C.

This monument is the centerpiece of the division’s memorial services for the 13,000 honorable soldiers who served under the First Infantry Division. This event has also hit even closer to home, since a Wakefield student, sophomore RaShawn Parent, had the honor of placing the floral arrangements on the First Division Monument this year. Rashawn said, “I’ve been to many of The Big Red One ceremonies, but this is the first time I’ve been a participant in laying the wreath. It made me realize how important Memorial Day is. It isn’t just a regular holiday; it is a day we understand how much our soldiers have risked their lives for us.”

The First Infantry Division monument in Washington DC.

The Executive Director of the Society of the First Infantry Division, Buddy Wallace, sees the monument as more than a memorial. The day as more than just a day, it is a “time of gratitude,  I do not think it is too much to pause one day a year to reflect on the families of our fallen and to reflect on the sacrifices they have made.”  He was happy that someone so young helped remember fallen soldiers on that important day; “it was an honor for Rashawn Parent to assist us with our Memorial Day observance. It is great to see our young adults take an active interest in things much larger than themselves.”

When asked to explain the origin of the division, Wallace shared the organizations rich beginnings; “The United States declared war on Germany on April 6th, 1917.  Soon after a French Mission headed by Marshal Joffre arrived in America and requested that a military force be sent to France without delay.  That forces wold be known as the First Expeditionary Division. From the early days of the 1IDs activation, they have been a leading force throughout the world liberating people when called upon by our nation’s leaders.”

If you didn’t make it to the ceremony this Memorial Day, Wallace gave some advice on how to honor these soldiers; “take a walk thru Arlington National Cemetery and as you do that read the names on the head stones.  Theses are the names of Americans that have given much to their country.”

If you want to know more about the First Infantry Division, visit their website.