A local symbol of remembrancePublished 1:31pm Thursday, February 4, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
This week, four NATO (North Atlantic Treat Organization) soldiers were killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan. For the region, it is news with a familiar tone. Since the nation’s War on Terror began, the death toll for United States and coalition troops have continued to draw concern and devastate families across the globe.
In Edwardsburg, a solitary reminder of the sacrifices servicemen and women have made protecting and serving their country stands in the middle of the front yard of Jonathon Carver’s parents’ home, where their son put together a special battlefield cross in honor of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
In a bed of white stones stands a pair of boots, behind what is to be symbolic of a turned over bayonet topped by a helmet.
“What prompted him to do it,” Carver’s wife Barbara said, “is he lost someone in his unit in Iraq.”
Carver, an Edwardsburg High School graduate, completed his tour of duty in Iraq in December 2008 after 15 months, serving as military police for the Army.
As is military tradition, a battle cross is often displayed to mark the loss of a fallen soldier.
The soldier, in this case, is Casey P. Mason. A bracelet bearing Mason’s name is included in Carver’s monument, which also includes decorative markers representing various military branches.
“He (Carver) made it for him (Mason) and anyone who died in service,” Barbara said. “In memory of all those past, present and future who pay the ultimate price for our future.”
Carver filled the boots with cement, building a base of wood and filling it with cement as well, creating a memorial that would last through the seasons.
Carver’s interest in the military, his wife said, started out when he was relatively young.
“He always wanted to be a cop,” she said. “And he’s always been kind of drawn to the military.”
The stresses he may have felt while overseas are still pieces of a time that he shares with his wife intermittently. Though he’s told her about his time in Iraq, Barbara said there are still some details Jonathan can’t tell her, often because of the nature of his work.
Now in Missouri, Carver is an MP investigator.
Asked if he has the chance of being deployed once again, his wife admits there’s a possibility.
“Yes, I’m sure,” she said. “(But) right now he’s in a unit that doesn’t deploy.”
That could change, she said, should her husband be transferred or moved into a new unit.
Regardless of where Carver might serve, his loyalty to his units past, present and future doesn’t seem to be in question. Just like the bracelet bearing Mason’s name on his monument, Carver has kept one on his wrist.
The serviceman was killed not long after Carver returned to the United States, still, Barbara said, “he has one he wears. He’s kept it on ever since.”