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Fallen in Iraq, Soldiers Honored with Post Offices in Their Name

Some day later this week the House will overwhelmingly pass H.R. 3974, a bill renaming a U.S. Post Office on Sam Bass Road in Round Rock, Texas.

With a population of less than 90,000, the small city just north of Austin boasts of being the 13th safest city in the nation and the sports capital of the Lone Star State. It was also the home of Steven P. Gill, who on July 21, 2005 was killed in action near Zaidon, Iraq by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations.

Gill, a Marine Corps corporal, was 24.

Assuming the Senate follows suit and passes similar legislation, by the end of this year Gill's hometown post office will be named after him, for his service to the nation and for paying the ultimate sacrifice. Gill is far from alone. He will be at least the 10th Iraq war veteran killed in action to have a post office named after him so far by the 110th Congress.

Republicans have belittled the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill this year for doing little of real legislative consequence other than naming post offices and courthouses. Sadly, a large share of those post offices are being named after soldiers fallen in battle in a war that has bitterly divided the nation and Congress.

To honor Veterans Day, Capitol Briefing is paying tribute to those soldier like Steven Gill. A post office in their honor is no small favor for sacrificing their young lives. It's a tribute that Congress -- unable to come to a bipartisan agreement on how to end the war -- has paid to family and friends hoping to bring some small degree of solace to their pain in the wake of their loss.

As much as the war heightens tension on Capitol Hill, the deaths of soldiers like Gill are honored on both sides of the aisle. Sponsored by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), the bill renaming the Round Rock post office after Gill is co-sponsored by the other 31 members of the Texas delegation.

Three weeks after her son's death, Gill's mother, Rose, lost her job because she was too distraught to go back to work. "My life has gone to hell," she told USA Today in 2006. Three months after her son was killed by an IED, she came to Washington and ran the Marine Corps Marathon in his honor. "I would have crawled if I had to," she told the paper.

Gill was assigned to the Marine Reserve's 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, San Antonio. On a web site dedicated to soldiers from Iraq, the mother of another soldier killed in battle wrote a message of sympathy for Rose Gill: "The loss of a son hurts beyond what words can express. I still struggle daily with the reality that my son is no longer here. May your family lean on each other and give comfort to each other during this time. Draw closer to each other and God not away from. May Jesus give you peace and may the Holy Spirit comfort you."

Here are the other soldiers who have had post offices named after them this year by Congress, with links to their own stories. This list may not be complete, so, please, if there are other soldiers, other post offices, leave their names and links to their stories in the comments section below:

• H.R. 514 - To name the Lea Robert Mills Brooksville Aviation Branch Post Office: Mills, 21, was killed by an IED on April 28, 2006 in Al Anbar Province.
• H.R. 577 - To name the Sergeant Henry Ybarra III Post Office Building: Ybarra, 32, was killed Sept. 11, 2003, in Bala, Iraq. He left behind a wife and three children.
• H.R. 988 - To name the Lieutenant Todd Jason Bryant Post Office: Bryant, 23, was killed by an IED in Al Fallujah on Oct. 31, 2003.
• H.R. 1402 - To name the Sergeant Dennis J. Flanagan Lecanto Post Office Building: Flanagan, 22, was killed by an IED in Al Huwijah on Jan. 20, 2006.
• H.R. 2078 - To name the Staff Sergeant Omer T. 'O.T.' Hawkins Post Office: Hawkins, 31, was killed in Ar Ramadi on Oct. 14, 2004.
• H.R. 2563 - To name the Major Scott Nisely Post Office Building: Nisely, 48, left behind a wife and son on Sept. 30, 2006. He was killed by gunfire in Al Asad.
• H.R. 2765 - To name the Master Sergeant Sean Michael Thomas Post Office: Thomas, 33, was killed by rocket fire in the Green Zone on March 27, 2007. His daughter was six months old at the time.
• H.R. 625 - To name the Atanacio Haro-Marin Post Office Building: Haro-Marin, 27, was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade on June 3, 2003 in Balad.
• S. 1772 -- To name Private First Class Shane R. Austin Post Office: Austin was just 19 when he was killed by grenade fire on Oct. 8, 2006.

By Paul Kane  |  November 11, 2007; 8:00 AM ET
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My prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones in the Iraq war.

Posted by: CB | November 11, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Well I hoe there is more to this from ...CONGRESS
The Big iussue is NO JOB FOR THE RETURNING SOLDIERS ( Ann Arbor news) so lets get our congressmen to have One OMNIBUSMEN in his or heres local Office to oversea the SOldiers back to civil life and cut the RED the soldier get there jobs back or have congress pay them the full Job.benefits till they get a job..Also no more donatition of OLD Purple Heart OUR Soldier deseve NEW CARS. LOVE your COUNTRY

Posted by: sigup | November 12, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I am a Canadian and more than likely most Americans are unaware of the fact that we have young men dying in Afghanistan for the noble cause of bringing democracy and freedom to that impoverished land a hopeless cause indeed!

This is an honour to have a Post Office named for one after giving the ultimate sacrifice? Surely these young men, no longer with us, must be asking, 'This is the noble cause for which I paid the ultimate sacrifice?' I should hope not and surely they are worthy of much nore than that. There is no way in which we can replay them for what they have done. God bless them and their families for the suffering which they now endure!

Posted by: Marshall Pomroy | November 12, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I just hope that some day a stamp with Bush's face on it doesn't have to pass through Gill's post office or any other post office in this country. That would be the ultimate humiliation for the soldiers Bush sent to their deaths so he could live out his horrific fantasy of bringing democracy to Iraq.

Posted by: Steamboater | November 13, 2007 4:31 AM | Report abuse

H.R. 3297, sponsored by Patrick J. Murphy
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 950 West Trenton Avenue in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, as the `Nate DeTample Post Office Building'.

Posted by: Brendan | November 13, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow! What a consolation for soldiers who have paid the ultimate price: Sacrificed their lives for another. Better start building a lot more post offices.

Posted by: Maureen Murphy | November 13, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

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