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Fallen heroes honored at Freedom Square


As he choked back tears, John Mitchell spoke of the great love and admiration he has for his sister, U.S. Navy Ensign Sarah Mitchell who was killed just 36 days into her deployment last July during a training accident. She was 23 years old.

“Her death was a tragedy,” said Mitchell. “She loved God and her country.”

During an emotional ceremony Sept. 20 in Doylestown’s Freedom Square, banners honoring Sarah Mitchell and Capt. Connor Bednarzyk were added to the moving memorial just off Pine Street. Now, 29 banners hang at the site, one honoring each of the Bucks County natives killed in service since Sept. 11, 2001.

Army Ranger Bednarzyk was killed Sept. 7, 2018 during a tactical vehicle accident in Georgia. A 2011 Central Bucks East graduate, he was 25.

His mother, Ruth Bednarzyk, spoke to the audience of about 100 gathered under a white tent, shielded from the late afternoon sun. She recalled what the mother of Colby Umbrell, another young Bucks County man killed in service to his country said to her after the death of her son.

“Please remember to say his name,” she said. “That has always stayed with me, always resonated with me,” Bednarzyk said. “Thank you for always remembering to say their names.”

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick also spoke, lauding the courage and character of Mitchell and Bednarzyk. “Character is often described as what one does when no one is watching …serving a cause bigger than yourself. That is who Sarah and Connor were, that’s who they are and always will be.”

The Travis Manion Foundation sponsored the banner dedication ceremony.