For the families of military service personnel who are killed in combat, neither Veterans Day nor Memorial Day is sufficient to honor their loved one. For them every day is a kind of Memorial Day.
In honor of his son, Sgt. Michael Stokely, Rep. Elect Robert Stokely of Newnan will be featured on a special on HLN at 7 p.m. this evening. Titled "108 Hours: A Journey to Iraq (2012), it is billed as "a father's journey to honor his son."
Sgt. Michael Stokely, was a long-time Loganville resident who died in Iraq on Aug. 16, 2005. He was the first Walton County resident to die in the war.
Today a part of Highway 81 in Loganville is named in memory of Michael Stokely. Another stretch of road bears the same name in Coweta County, which is where Robert Stokely lives and serves as solicitor general. He was elected in July to serve in the Georgia House of Representatives.
Michael Stokely’s legacy also continues in the work of the Mike Stokely Foundation – a family formed organization granting scholarships and providing financial support to the families of seriously wounded soldiers, among other efforts.
In a story written about Sgt. Michael Stokely last year, his father gave the following explanation for the photograph that accompanies this story:
"The photo was taken by Loganville High classmate and good friend Alden Williams about a week before Mike was killed by roadside bomb. In this photo Mike is actually holding an IV bag while a medic works on another soldier on the ground (who was hurt bad but going to make it). Mike's HMV and the one this soldier was riding in had just met one another on the roadway. The vehicles were "tail to tail" when the IED exploded. Mike's HMV was not very seriously damaged but the other one, well the third photo shows it all. Mike was standing there and Alden Williams came up with a Medical relief team answering the call. Alden walked up and Mike turns around to Alden's surprise. Alden knew Mike worked that area but was not expecting Mike to be standing there. Alden took the photo of Mike, which as you can tell by the two photos, Mike smiled a lot and that was one of his trademarks, besides being everyone's best friend... Noone in the family was aware that Mike was growing a mustache - it was his "surprise" for us when he was to have come home on his leave a few weeks later on Sept. 1, but never made it, having been KIA 16 August 2005."