NC Airmen Memorialized
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Hundreds gathered at the 145th Airlift Wing of the North Carolina Air National Guard in Charlotte Tuesday to remember 42-year-old Lt. Paul Mikeal of Mooresville, 36-year-old Major Joe McCormick of Belmont, 35-year-old Major Ryan David of Boone and 50-year-old Senior Master Sergeant Robbie Cannon of Charlotte.
The four men died July 1st when their plane, a C-130, crashed while dropping fire retardant on a wildfire in South Dakota. Their friends spoke about them and told the audience that they were not only dedicated servicemen, but friends, husbands, fathers.
"Liam wants everyone to know that his dad died doing what he loved: flying airplanes, helping people and saving lives," says Lt. Col. Jim Pearson of his friend, Mikeal.
"For me, the memory of Ryan will always remind me of how I should live my life. There are no bad days, just some days aren't as awesome as others," says Maj. Toshio Sameshima of his friend, David.
"With Robbie being out here for 28 years, you can go anywhere on this base and mention his name and everybody knows him," says First Lt. Michael Nix of his friend, Cannon.
And choking back tears, "He was the most honorable man that I knew. He worked hard to bring honor to himself, to his family, to his country," says Maj. James Bodolosky of his friend, McCormick.
The men's families were presented with American flags by Governor Bev Perdue. She told the crowd of about 1,500 to not only mourn, but also celebrate their lives. She says, "They were heroes, purely and simply, these four great sons of North Carolina."