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Remembering the fallen: Ft. Huachuca remembers soldiers who died in combat, Gold Star Families on Memorial Day

Why one family says "Memorial Day is every day"
Posted at 4:01 PM, May 27, 2024

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. (KGUN) — Every year Fort Huachuca hosts a remembrance ceremony on Memorial Day, reminding the community of those with ties to Cochise County who lost their lives in combat.

At the post cemetery of Fort Huachuca, more than 4500 fallen are buried. On Monday, community members remembered those who lost their lives in combat, including local Gold Star families.

“This Memorial Day, let us remember and let us honor and let us never forget our fallen heroes in the families he left behind," said Rick Appelhans, Commanding General of the Intel Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca.

Among those remembered Monday, Collin Ryan Schockmel, who served in the U.S. Army.

"He loved Fort Huachuca," Kristin Schockmel Lawson, Collin's mom, said.

Collin enlisted in the Army, following his dad's footsteps.

“He was killed in Iraq in January of 2007,” Schockmel Lawson said. “He was 19.”

This was two years after he and his father were stationed there together.

“My son dying breaks my heart," Schockmel Lawson said. "Every day is Memorial Day in our family.”

She says she talks to Collin everyday and sees him in her granddaughter— a young niece who never met her uncle.

“People don’t know that I think about this on a daily basis," Schockmel Lawson said. "I love him. I miss him. I wish he was here.”

Schockmel Lawson and her husband Garfield Lawson, hung a wreath during Monday’s event for their son.

“Putting up a wreath in his honor was heartbreaking, but I love him and I miss him and I do it in his honor," Schockmel Lawson said. "We do it in his honor."

"I think he’d be proud,” Schockmel Lawson said.

The couple says they drive by the cemetery often to blow kisses and say 'hi' to Collin because for them, Memorial Day is every day.

“I’m very honored to do this for him," Schockmel Lawson said. "I wish I could do more.”

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Alexis Ramanjulu is a reporter in Cochise County for KGUN 9. She began her journalism career reporting for the Herald/Review in Sierra Vista, which she also calls home. Share your story ideas with Alexis by emailing alexis.ramanjulu@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook.