MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) The drone of helicopters, the somber whine of a bagpipe, kind words, and silent tears. These are to be expected during a memorial service, especially for four men lost in the service to their country.
All of those were offered Friday during the memorial for fallen Coast Guard members Dale Taylor, Thomas Cameron, Fernando Jorge and Andrew Knight.
But when we remember those we love, we remember the good times, too.
Adrianna Dotta of California can attest to that. She was the sister of fallen coastie Fernando Jorge.
"Fernando was just one of those people from when he was just a tot," she said, "that when he walked into a room, he just lit it up."
As the crowd filtered away Friday, a few people still lingered around the new monument to the fallen men. Adriana and her friend, Laura were among them.
"He always loved the water," said Adrianna. "When he was in high school, he would give swimming lessons to tots to earn extra money, and he always just loved the ocean. It was always a part of him."
"He touched every soul he came around all the time," offered his self-professed best friend, Laura. "To be known as his friend is something we will always carry with us the rest of our lives."
From the moment the new monument was placed on the site at ATC Mobile, it began to possess its power, a power that not only brings comfort to family members, but also those left behind to carry on the mission.
And that is why Coast Guard Commandant Robert Papps told those gathered at the memorial that the striking piece of granite and steel is also a monument to those who follow the fallen.
"If tragedy happens and perhaps they are lost, they know their shipmates are going to be there for them, will provide support for their families and memorialize them," said Papp.
Though tears stained many of the faces that went before the monument Friday, that didn't last long.
For the faces they found staring back were bright with smiles... especially one- Fernando Jorge.
And his sister, Adrianna said, he'd be proud right now.
"Yes. He would be so proud," she said, beaming. "All of the guys would be proud. I think it's a testament of who they all were, the heros they all are, and I think it was just tastefully done and it's just beautiful."