Fallen soldier will never say goodbye to Washington

Published 5:05 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

By Staff
Bench and marker honor PFC Murdock’s life and sacrifice
Staff Writer
More than 30 people gathered at Washington’s Veterans Park on Friday afternoon to dedicate a bench and marker to U.S. Army PFC Michael “Mikey” Murdock.
Murdock died on Sept. 11, 2008, during his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. He was shot and killed preparing for fighting position while his base was under attack. Murdock was based at Lybert and assigned to Alpha Battery, 3rd Brigade, a field-artillery unit.
Murdock’s mother, Jennifer Tripp, cut the ribbon at the dedication ceremony, Friday.
She said the memorial serves as “just a small token to honor him.”
The idea for a memorial came to Tripp during a dedication at Veterans Park on Veterans Day 2008, when a Fallen Soldier statue was placed in the park courtyard. While there, she noticed a small tree had been planted for another soldier.
Weeks later, she decided that her son should be honored with a tree, a symbol of rebirth. But before the tree was planted, Tripp contacted the proper authorities.
She got in touch with Washington Parks and Recreation Director Phil Mobley, who oversees the park, and told him her plans. Mobley took the idea a step further when he placed a bench and marker at the park.
Tripp said she was thankful for the work done by Mobley and the city’s Public Works Department, which laid the memorial. She said her son dearly loved his hometown of Washington.
Now, with the memorial, her son will never have to say goodbye again, Tripp said.
In a dedication speech, Washington Mayor Judy Meier Jennette said Murdock made a “big impact” on the community in life and death.
Jennette and Tripp were joined at the dedication by Murdock’s father, Walter, uncles Bobby and Rodney, and Tripp’s husband Slade Tripp. The dedication was especially touching for them, all Washington natives and military veterans.
Cutline for corresponding photo: Citizens gathered Friday afternoon at Veterans Park in Washington to honor U.S. Army PFC Michael Murdock, who was killed in Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2008. Three members of Murdock’s family are shown at left: They are (l-r), Walter Murdock, Michael’s father; Slade Tripp, husband of Michael’s mother Jennifer Tripp; and Jennifer Tripp. In front is the bench dedicated to Michael. (WDN Photos/Paul Dunn)