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SCANG holds first annual Remembrance Service

1st Lt. Christina Pittman, a Chaplain with the 169th Fighter Wing, prays during the First Annual Remembrance Service on November 4, 2012 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base. This interfaith service was organized by McEntire?s Chaplain?s Corps and included words of inspiration, prayers and reflection as the Swamp Fox family remembers friends and loved ones.
(SCANG photo by Lt.Col. Jim St.Clair/Released)

1st Lt. Christina Pittman, a Chaplain with the 169th Fighter Wing, prays during the First Annual Remembrance Service Nov. 4, 2012 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base. This interfaith service was organized by McEntire's Chaplain's Corps and included words of inspiration, prayers and reflection as the Swamp Fox family remembers friends and loved ones. (SCANG photo by Lt.Col. Jim St.Clair/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina --    Members of the 169th Fighter Wing attended an inaugural Remembrance Service during last month's drill held at McEntire Joint National Guard Base. The interfaith service was organized and run by McEntire's Chaplain Corps and included music, lighting of candles, words of inspiration, prayers and reflection as the Swamp Fox family remembered departed friends and loved ones. "The overall feeling was meaningful and was really good," said Chaplain (1st Lt.) Christina Pittman.

   "As we approach the holiday season when family gatherings and parties bring memories of good times, we may recall a loved one who will be missing from our midst. Coping with separation from loved ones is a process. This process is evident in the stages of grief like shock, denial, anger, and acceptance. One way to honor those no longer with us is by taking time to reflect and remember. Taking time to remember those who have passed on provides some closure to life's endings and helps ease the pain of separation," said Wing Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Brian Bohlman.

   According to Pittman, she was approached by Master Sgt. Collette Jones about the idea to have a Remembrance service. "One hadn't been done at McEntire before and she mentioned it would be meaningful especially after the deaths of three of our Airmen this year," Pittman said.

   The goal of the service was "to be able to pause during a hectic time and reflect on those who have died and had an impact in our lives, especially during the holiday season," Pittman said.

   The service began with opening remarks by Bohlman followed by an opening prayer by Chaplain (Capt.) Benjamin McEntire. Senior Airman James Seymore then sang the hymn Blessings followed by a meditation by Pittman and a scripture reading from the book of Ecclesiastes by Tech Sgt. Heather McNeil.

   After a trumpet solo of the hymn Amazing Grace by Master Sgt. Philip Harrison, Master Sgts. Chuck Williams and Collette Jones read a list of more than 50 names submitted by Airmen at McEntire. Included were three Swamp Foxes who passed away in 2012: Senior Master Sgts. Jamey Edwards and Lisa Dinkins and Tech. Sgt. Kenny Moore.

   The list of names reading was followed by a candle lighting ceremony and the playing of Taps. The service concluded with a traditional Irish Blessing provided by Pittman. 

   "If anyone has ever gone through the death of someone close, you can identify with the flood of emotions that can occur. Sometimes our emotions can be more than we can handle which complicates the grief process as we stuff our feelings. However, making space to grieve and remember is essential to our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health which results in balanced Airmen who are focused on their mission," said Bohlman.