KINGSLEY — Twenty-one shots from an honor guard. The haunting sound of a bugler playing Taps. Then, total silence as two more Michigan Army National Guard honor guard members folded the flag draped over U.S. Army Sgt. David Feriend's casket, presenting one to his two sisters.
Those sights and sounds marked the moment Feriend finally came home. He was laid to rest Sunday in Evergreen Cemetery near Kingsley, nearly 69 years after he went missing in battle in the Korean War.
Inside Forward Operating Base Oqab in Kabul, Afghanistan stands a wall painted with a mural of an airman kneeling before a battlefield cross. Beneath it, a black gravestone bookended with flowers and dangling dog tags displays the names of eight U.S. airmen and an American contractor killed in a horrific insider attack at Kabul International Airport in 2011.
It's one of a number of such memorials ranging from plaques, murals and concrete T-walls scattered across Afghanistan. For the last eight years, those tributes have been proof to the families of the fallen that their loved ones have not been forgotten. But with a final U.S. pullout from Afghanistan possibly imminent, those families fear the combat-zone memorials may be lost for good.