ROOTSTOWN TWP.: Every work day, Pam Murray goes in the back entrance of the Rootstown post office to get ready to deliver a rural route in Portage County.
When she arrives this morning to deliver mail, she will be working at a facility named for her only son, Marine Sgt. Jeremy E. Murray, 27, who was killed in a roadside bombing Nov. 16, 2005, outside of Fallujah, Iraq.
“There are not words to describe it,” Murray said after the post office on Tallmadge Road was named for Jeremy Murray in a ceremony Monday morning at Grace Church of Rootstown. A plaque honoring him will be placed in the lobby.
“It is just overwhelming,” Pam Murray said.
The large gathering at the ceremony included Murray and her husband, Harold, of Atwater Township; their son’s widow and son, Megan and Ian Murray, of Ravenna; their daughter, son-in-law and their three children, Lisa and Steve Frame, and Austin, Kodi and Torey, of Beallsville; and numerous friends.
Sgt. Murray, a Waterloo High School graduate, served two years in the Army and was an Army Ranger before he joined the Marine Corps in 2000.
He was on his third tour in Iraq when he was killed in action.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon Lake, co-sponsored the bill to name the post office for Murray. Both spoke at the service.
Ryan said that from now on, when people drive past the post office at 4865 Tallmadge Road, “We should remember here is someone who laid down his life for something other than himself or someone other than himself.”
The example Murray set can be repeated by others by serving their country and by “putting your ego aside and putting your pride aside and helping serve in some other way ... being selfless, caring about other people,” Ryan said.
He spoke directly to Ian Murray, 11, a sixth-grader at Lakeview Elementary in Stow.
“You had a great dad, buddy,” Ryan told him.
Brown echoed Ryan’s words to the boy.
“We will always honor him and remember him,” Brown said. “Ian, your dad was a role model to so many. ... He will continue to be a role model and hero to so many.”
Society, Brown said, doesn’t often enough think of “the ultimate sacrifice” families like the Murrays make.
Harold Murray spoke of the continuing grief his family feels.
The day his son died “was the most tragic day of our lives. Every day, we wake up in the house we raised our son. Every corner is a memory,” he said.
The father said that “none of us here knows what tomorrow will bring. A lot of times we are not prepared for what tomorrow will bring. We have to take that and deal with it and try to make a way to make sense out of it and better our lives.”
Harold and Pam Murray have become part of the group Rolling Thunder that works for veterans’ causes. He said they want to “in a small way say thank you to our veterans.”
He said seeing the post office in Rootstown where he and his wife grew up named for their son “is an honor. It gives more credit for the sacrifice.”
Two other area post offices have been named for fallen Marines.
The post office at 3900 Darrow Road in Stow was named in honor of Marine Cpl. Joseph A. Tomci on June 3, 2010.
Tomci, 21, a 2003 Stow-Munroe Falls High School graduate, was killed Aug. 2, 2006, in a roadside bombing in Iraq.
The Chagrin Falls post office was named for Marine Sgt. Michael M. Kashkoush in 2008. The former Chagrin Falls resident was killed in Iraq in 2007 at age 24.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at email@example.com.