MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) The scene was reminiscent of last year's memorial service for four fallen heroes.
Four helicopters flew in formation over ATC Mobile Friday, each representing the four fallen Coast guard members who perished in a chopper crash in Mobile Bay exactly one year ago.
But this time, the formation marked the dedication of a memorial.
The granite and steel oblique is engraved with the names and faces of Dale Taylor, Thomas Cameron Fernando Jorge and Andrew Knight, the crew of CG 6535.
Adm. Robert Papp, U.S.C.G. Commandant, came to Mobile for the ceremony commemorating the memorial. He recalled the moment he found out about the loss of four of his men.
"I got an update on the 29th of February at 7:30 in the morning," he said, pulling out folded piece of paper that turned out to be a copy of an e-mail. "This has been in my notebook every morning, ever since."
Something irreplaceable is gone. But that doesn't mean one forgets. That's what the monument is all about.
But Friday's ceremony wasn't only to honor the four men on the new monument. There is another monument on the site, an older one.
It commemorates another crew, four more men who were lost 31 years ago. It was 1981.
Another chopper, CG 1427.
Commandant Papps remembered that one, too.
The pilot was also his classmate at the Coast Guard Academy.
"They went out on a training mission," he recalled, "and there was a catastrophic failure on a rotary head, which caused the helicopter to go down with the loss of all four crew members."
So now, there are two monuments, standing watch over ATC Mobile, both making the same promise to those gone, and those who carry on.
ATC Commander captain Tom Maine offered this thought:
"The same will be true 31 years from now and 31 years after that, that we will as a Coast Guard and as a community, will remember those who gave all for us as Americans."