Memorial Day – 05/30/2011
By Amanda Nalley • DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER • Published: May 31. 2011 2:00AM
It’s been less than a year since Army soldiers Pfc. Brandon King and Pfc. Anthony Simmons died serving their country in Afghanistan. Both soldiers posthumously received Purple Hearts for their sacrifice, and on Memorial Day, plaques given by the Military Order of the Purple Heart were presented to their mothers.
“I feel blessed to be here and honored that they are honoring my son and Brandon King,” said Renee Miller, Simmons’ mother, at the ceremony in the Capitol courtyard. A crowd of about 50 attended the event, which included the presentation of two plaques, both bearing a photo of the fallen soldiers.
“We have a motto in the Purple Heart, all gave some, but some gave all,” said Washington Sanchez, Senior Vice Commander of the Florida Military Order of the Purple Heart. “These two young adults gave their lives for this country so we could enjoy the freedoms we do.”
“I know how tragic it is for a family,” he said, mentioning that soldiers who received a Purple Heart were likely in a conflict where other soldiers possibly died.
“For our family, it’s like yesterday. It hasn’t gotten easier,” said King’s mother, Freda King. “I’m very happy he hasn’t been forgotten. I really appreciate that.”
Simmons, a 25-year-old Tallahassee native and Godby High School graduate, was killed by indirect fire July 8 in Afghanistan. King, 23, attended Tallahassee Community College before joining the Army in September 2009. He was killed by a sniper July 14 in Afghanistan. Both soldiers were in the 101st Airborne Division. During the Memorial Ceremony, Washington Sanchez and Cleveland Thomas Jr., members of the Military Order of the
Purple Heart, salute the flag during a ceremony in which the Chapter gave plaques to the mothers of fallen soldiers Pfc. Brandon King and Pfc. Anthony Simmons. (AMANDA NALLEY/Democrat)