The first of 36 wreath-laying ceremonies to commemorate Memorial Day in Missoula revealed a poignant memory for local U.S. Naval Master Chief Petty Officer Terry Zieba.

After tossing the ceremonial wreath into the Clark Fork River to commemorate those who lost their lives at sea on behalf of the U.S. Navy, the Coast Guard and the U.S. Marines, Chief Zieba shared his reason for volunteering to take part in the ceremony.

"This ceremony in particular honors those who lost their lives at sea in their Naval, Coast Guard or Marine Corps service, but this person in particular was one of my people that we lost in Iraq," Zieba said. "I'm here for Petty Officer Clark."

Zieba, overcoming his emotion, explained.

"She had completed her day's work and was helping the Marines in checking civilians through a checkpoint," he said. "They had finished their work and were on their way back to their barracks, and their vehicle was blown up by a suicide bomber."

Memorial Day

Petty Officer 1st Class Regina R. Clark from Centralia, Washington, was killed in action in Fallujah on June 23, 2005 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Petty Officer Clark served with the Naval Reserves, Naval Construction Regiment, Detachment 30, Port Hueneme, California.  She was 43.

Memorial Day has been set aside to remember and honor those who have lost their lives in the line of duty in the military, although many also use the opportunity to honor members of law enforcement, as well. Missoula has 36 wreath laying ceremonies scheduled throughout the day, to end at the University of Montana Afghanistan-Iraq Memorial at 3:30 p.m.