Mayor proclaims Shelby Co. 'Purple Heart county' - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor proclaims Shelby Co. 'Purple Heart county'

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Marine Corps Captains Brent Morel and Robert Secher were both awarded Purple Hearts posthumously. Marine Corps Captains Brent Morel and Robert Secher were both awarded Purple Hearts posthumously.
County officials say there is only one other Purple Heart county in the entire state of Tennessee. County officials say there is only one other Purple Heart county in the entire state of Tennessee.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell proclaimed Shelby County a "Purple Heart County" during a small ceremony honoring a group of veterans who were injured during various wars.

"Today? Oh, it's a special occasion, real special occasion," said Bobby Baker, Commander of the Memphis Belle Chapter of the Purple Heart. "I can't stress that enough. It's very, it's a big honor ... for all Purple Heart recipients."

County officials say there is only one other Purple Heart county in the entire state of Tennessee.

"It's appropriate that we pause and pay tribute to these soldiers who risked their lives to defend our nation's freedom," Luttrell said.

But in a room full of Purple Heart recipients Friday, the greatest reverence was reserved for two women who made huge sacrifices, despite never having been soldiers themselves.

"We can't do enough for them," said Baker, who took shrapnel to the neck during the Vietnam War.

"Every day is Memorial Day for us," said Molly Morel, who lost her son in April 2004. "Every day is Veterans Day for us."

Morel's son, Marine Corps Captain Brent Morel, was killed while fighting in Fallujah.

Robert Secher, also a Marine Corps captain, was killed fighting in Iraq in October 2006. His mother, Elke Morris, feels a connection now to everyone hurt or killed in action.

"It's not over," she said. "We tend to forget, even now, they're still dying."

Marine Corps Corporal Jacob Romo served in the Third Battalion, 5th Marines.

"Their sons were brothers of mine," he said, referring to Morel and Morris. "Stepped where I shouldn't have. It's just that simple."

Critically injured at war, Romo is a Purple Heart recipient.

"Recognition of that doesn't come close to the job fulfillment, the life fulfillment, that the experience brings. And it can't. And that's not the point," said Cpl. Romo.

"We need to use this as an opportunity to really rededicate ourselves to doing what we can to support our veterans," said Mayor Luttrell.

"Today? Oh, it's a special occasion, real special occasion," said Baker. "I can't stress that enough. It's very, it's a big honor."

Morel added, "We don't want our family members to be forgotten. It's important that their sacrifice be remembered."

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