‘Make sure they’re never forgotten,’ says father of fallen Fort Drum soldier

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 4:33 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - Fort Drum’s commanding general calls it the most important event of the year: the ceremony remembering fallen soldiers. This year, the post heard from a father whose son was killed in Afghanistan.

“Our club is the most expensive club in the world. We have paid with our loved ones. And we pay it day after day, month after month, year after year,” said Paul Monti.

Monti’s son, Sergeant First Class Jared Monti, lost his life trying to save a fellow soldier in Afghanistan 15 years ago.

For that, he received the Medal of Honor from President Obama.

But still, a father was left without a son. Paul Monti is a “Gold Star” family member. Tuesday he recalled hearing the price he paid.

“There was a man walking up the driveway in uniform and I knew, I knew why he was there. And I cried out, ‘Not my son, not my Jared,’” he said.

Monti’s speech was an emotional moment of a remembrance ceremony, part of Fort Drum’s annual Mountainfest. Soldiers laid wreaths at the feet of podiums honoring their fellow troops.

And ceremonial cannon fire echoed throughout the park.

10th Mountain Division Commander Major General Milford Beagle Junior calls the ceremony the most important event of the year for Fort Drum.

“What is sometimes lost on many is the toll of the losses that come with each deployment, that places our Mountain Warriors in harm’s way,” said General Beagle, Jr.

For Monti, the years haven’t made the death of his son any easier, but he has found a way to move forward, which he wants other members of the Gold Star family club to know.

“You keep their name alive. You make sure they’re never forgotten. You dedicate your life to theirs,” he said.

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