Remembering the Fallen

JEJ Moore Middle School held a Memorial Day Tribute ceremony Friday in honor of Hometown Hero Captain Jesse Ozbat and all U.S. troops.

Guests of honor included Aaron and Cynthia Ozbat, parents of Captain Ozbat, and their son Elijah and Captain Ozbat’s wife Danielle. Elijah Ozbat, a sophomore at JEJ Moore Middle School, spoke in honor of his brother before a large gathering that included parents of JEJ Moore Middle School Students and pillars of the community.

“Before May 20, 2012, Memorial Day was just another day out of the year for me, but when that day came, my life changed forever,” Ozbat said. “I remember it was Sunday night, and me and my mom were trying to set up a Skype account so we could talk to my brother while he was stationed in Afghanistan.

“The doorbell rang and my mother went out the front door. Seconds later, all I heard was screaming. I didn’t know what to think and I didn’t know what was going on, so I just in my room because I was scared.”

After some time, Elijah’s father came to his room and told him the news. Captain Jesse Ozbat was killed when a suicide bomber approached his unit and detonated a bomb.

“Now, to me, Memorial Day means so much more, because of how personal it is to me,” Ozbat said. “My life has never been the same. Every day I wake up and carry the memory of my brother’s death.”

Elijah stressed the importance of remembering our troops beyond Memorial Day. A simple gesture, such as a thank you, is one way Elijah said we can show appreciation to our troops, adding that these simple gestures go a long way.

Elijah’s speech was followed by a flag ceremony where students Autumn Stotesberry and Jack Lenhart read names of lives lost in U.S. wars and conflicts. Students led by Rod Leary and Christie Archer placed a flag in the garden for each name read, concluded with a bugle call of Taps and a salute to Captain Jesse Ozbat.

World War I
Timothy B. Cogle
Roy Ellis
Harvey F.D. Tatum
James Wooden

World War II
Ray C. Ayers
Robert B. Baird
Thomas A. Burney
John L. Corum
Frank L. Cole
Peter R. Dennis
Roland S. Epps
Edward T. Fauntleroy
Walter A. Gibbs
Paul Golnik
Turner G. Harrell
Lynwood C. Harrell
William H. Harville
William Horak
Douglas D. Johnson
Charles C. Johnson
Walter T. Kurnas
Elmer L. McKesson
Joseph M. Parham
Raleigh C. Powell, Jr.
Gratto M. Rosazza
Milos G. Rott
(World War II – continued)
Edward L. Rott
Elmer H. Sheets
Allen D. Spiers
James C. Steele, Jr.
Preston E. Temple
John H. Tomko
Edward A. Vargo
Joseph F. Vlkojon
Martin J. Volek
Andrew G. Book
Larry Kennedy
Thomas W. King
John D. Meikle
Willie L. Moore
William E. O’Berry
Robert A. Reed

John Wesley Blanding
Christopher George Morbitzer
Freddie Isiash Crockett
Nathaniel Irving
Add to Monument

Iraqi Freedom:
Michael Marvin Carey

Jesse A. Ozbat

**List given to JEJ Moore Middle School by The Prince George Regional Heritage Center, 2013
“As the Memorial Holiday draws near, it is our duty to honor those who have given their lives and service to this country,” Bishop said.
There were many people to thank, but Bishop said it was Christie Archer’s vision and hard work that made the ceremony possible. Archer and her husband worked after hours and over weekends to prepare the Memorial Garden. One student, Jeremiah Robinson, was recognized for his dedication to daily maintenance.
“Jeremiah helps out every afternoon in this garden,” Bishop said. “Be it watering the plants or picking up sticks that are constantly falling from this tree, this is an every afternoon event.”
Isaiah Hodges, a 6th grade student at JEJ Moore Middle School, recited In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
The John Randolph Foundation awarded $1,326 to the Captain Jesse Ozbat Honor Above All Scholarship. The Prince George Nutrition Association was also in attendance, awarding $250 to both the Jesse Ozbat Honor Above All Scholarship and Marvin Massenburg Jr. Scholarship.

Featured Photo: Ben May/Prince George Journal
Students, staff and parents from JEJ Moore Middle School gather for a Memorial Day commemoration Friday in honor of fallen U.S. soldiers, particularly Capt. Jesse Ozbat, who died in 2012.

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