Governor Nixon says his approach to speaking at deployment ceremonies has changed after two trips to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nixon visited with Guard personnel during his visit to Iraq and Afghanistan and he heard of their importance from commanders in the field. He also paid his respects at memorials to Sergeant Robert Crow of Kansas City and Sergeant Denis Kisseloff of St. Charles.
“The memorials are one thing. We did a ramp ceremony one night at about 11:15 at night at Bagram Airfield there in Afghanistan,” Nixon says. “But for me, more moving was sitting with the fellow soldiers who knew the Missourians and worked daily with the Missourians who’ve given their life in the cause of freedom.”
Sergeant Crow, age 42, died July 10th in Paktika, Afghanistan. He served in the 203rd Engineer Battalion, Missouri Army National Guard out of Joplin. Sergeant Kisseloff, age 45, died May 14th at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan. He served with the 1141st Engineer Company, a National Guard group based in Kansas City.
Nixon also saw the famed “Hero’s Highway” at the medical hospital in Iraq, where the American flag greets injured soldiers, letting them know they are in American hands.
“Walking through those areas and seeing one where almost 250 people came last week and then sitting down with those wounded warriors, it’s extremely moving,” says Nixon.
Nixon says visiting the troops makes their service very real to him as he participates in deployment ceremonies for National Guard troops.