A “Hometown” Medal of Honor Ceremony for Dakota Meyer

Tampa's ceremony to remember fallen Marine Gunnery Sgt. Aaron Kenefick and celebrate Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer.

Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer received the Medal of Honor Thursday for saving the lives of more than three dozen U.S. and Afghan forces. Yet, during that six-hour fire-fight he was unable to save his buddies – three Marines – a Navy Corpsman and an Army soldier.

Meyer wrote a letter to the families of the fallen asking them to hold ceremonies in their hometowns rather than attend the Medal of Honor ceremony in Washington D.C.

A majority of those who attended were veterans.

One of those hometown events took place outside under a bright Florida sun at Tampa’s Patriot Corner, Bayshore and Bay to Bay boulevards.Dozens of veterans, active duty military and citizens, most held an American flag. They lined Tampa’s heavily traveled, scenic road that curves along the bay from MacDill Air Force Base to downtown.

They were there to honor Marine Gunnery Sgt. Aaron Kenefick – one of five teammates that Sgt. Dakota Meyer tried to save.

Kenefick’s mother, Susan Price, helped arrange the ceremony to celebrate the heroic efforts of Sgt. Dakota Meyer and to remember her son.

“Dakota is a special breed of human being and part of him died that day he was on the other side of the radio listening to two hours of calls for help,” Price said.

A rifle volley, a poem, a prayer, the unveiling of a portrait of Kenefick and the release of a butterfly were all part the ceremony.

A portrait of Gunnery Sgt. Aaron Kenefick by Greg Crumbly, also a veteran, who does commemorative portraits of fallen warriors and presents the works to their families for free.

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