Memorial service for fallen Soldiers
Identification "Dog" tags of Spc. Jackson Johnson hang from the fallen soldier battle cross at the memorial service in Mount Vernon, Illinois, March 16. The Battle Cross is a symbolic replacement of a cross, on the battlefield or at the base camp for a soldier who has been killed. Dog tags are sometimes placed on the rifle, and the boots of the dead soldier can be placed next to the rifle. The purpose is to show honor and respect for the dead at the battle site. The practice started during or prior to the American Civil War, as a means of identifying the bodies on the battleground before removal. Today, it is a means of showing respect for the dead among the still living members of the unit. Johnson was killed in a non-combat vehicle crash, March 5, while deployed in Kuwait in support of Operations Inherent Resolve.