On Monday, May 25, the nation will pause to honor and mourn the men and women who have died while serving their country in the United States military. While many people may confuse Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day, which is commemorated in November and honors all military veterans, the last Monday of May is the solemn occasion dedicated to remember those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. To the families of the fallen especially, that distinction is immeasurably important.
Army Capt. Matthew J. August was one such soldier. August, of North Kingstown, excelled as a member of Bishop Hendricken High School’s Class of 1993, earning himself a coveted spot among the freshman class at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in 1997. A year later he married fellow West Point graduate, Captain Maureen Innes. Based at Fort Riley, Kansas, both Matthew and Maureen August were deployed to Iraq to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to his father Richard, Matthew believed he could make the world safer for future generations by fighting in Iraq, while his mother Donna said at the time that her son remained very protective of his wife, who also was serving in Iraq.
Assigned to Company B, 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (Mech.), at Fort Riley, Capt. Matthew J. August lost his life in service to his nation on Jan. 27, 2004, when he was killed in an improvised explosive device attack in Khalidiyah, Iraq. He was 28 years old. During his military career, Matthew earned the Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal – with two oak leaves; the National Defense Service Medal; and the Army Service and Overseas Service ribbons. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star; Purple Heart; Meritorious Service Medal; Iraqi Campaign and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary medals; and Combat Action Badge.
Known also as an avid outdoorsman, Capt. August, in addition to his parents, is also survived by his older brother, Brigadier General Mark R. August (USAF), and his younger sister, Melanie Cargilo. In May 2019, the local fallen Army captain was honored for his sacrifice as the Saunderstown Post Office was dedicated in his name.
This Memorial Day let us all pause to pray for the souls of our men and women in uniform who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their grateful nation, and may we take the time to learn and share the stories of their lives with others so that we all may never forget.