Heartland Fallen Soldier Honored

Heartland Fallen Soldier Honored
By:  Arnold Wyrick
The six U.S. Marines wearing their ceremonial dressed blues marched towards the Veterans Living Memorial in Marion. Seated just to their right were Lance Corporal Aaron Pickering's mother Lisa Short, her husband Sam and other family members gathered around. Then as one of the Marines extended his arm to Lance Corporal Pickering's mother she rose from her chair and stood proudly with the other Marines.
Slowly and without pause Staff Sergeant Jonathan Slone read aloud the heroic actions of Aaron Pickering on the battlefield in Fallujah, Iraq on the morning of November 10, 2004.
"Lance Corporal Pickering volunteered to lead his squad into a building which contained an enemy sniper. Upon entering the building machine gunfire and grenades rained down from upstairs. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own safety he proceeded and began engaging the insurgents."
With tears flowing down her cheeks Lisa never waivered as the Marine read on about that fatal morning that took the life of her 20 year old son, just 14 months after he'd enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.
" He positioned himself in an unprotected position. His selfless actions led to the save evacuation of the wounded and dead, in a final hail of gunfire Lance Corporal Pickering fell on the battlefield mortally wounded."
As Staff Sergeant Jameson Sweet handed Aaron's mother the Navy & U.S. Marine Corps Commendation Medal of Valor, he had this to say.
"It's my honor to present this award to you for his heroic action, something that we as all Marines believe in and strive for."
Lisa turned to the family and friends gathered at the ceremony and began recalling her young sons desire to become a Marine.
"I told him Aaron you're going to have to learn fear. And he did learn fear in the Marines. He was a wonderful son, a mighty man, and a great Marine. What more can I ask for as a son," Short said as tears rolled down her face.
Through the sobs she continued on with her thoughts out loud.
"Anything that he's earned it's all about him. It's not about me or anybody else it's all his credit. The only thing I get to do is hold it for him. I'll place this in his room with all of his other things. And there was a purpose for him to be there," Short said.
The Marines gave a final salute to honor their fallen comrade and slowly marched from the Veteran's Living Memorial walkway.