SA’s Grunt Style Honors Fallen Heroes
Photos by William Timmerman - Photographer, SA Sentinel.
May 2, 2019 - (Grunt Style) Downtown San Antonio
Article By: William Timmerman - Writer, SA Sentinel
Patriotism has often been raised as a banner for partisan political gain, but the soldiers that sign up and faithfully fight for freedom pay the price regardless of the party that ultimately sends them to war. They have a mission to serve and they have sacrificed much in service to our country, and it is important to not forget that human cost.
5,443 Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in military operations since 2001, and there have been 52,826 soldiers wounded in action. Those who return home still face hurdles, with the wounds of PTSD being felt in 4 -17% of U.S. Iraq War veterans. According to the National Institute of Health, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder “represents a significant and costly illness to veterans, their families, and society.” Even those who aren’t injured or afflicted by PTSD feel the loss of military solidarity and companionship. Sometimes the military family was the only family these soldiers had.
It is here that Grunt Style comes to help in its own unconventional way. They sell patriotic shirts. Although it is often said that clothing is an expression of self, for Grunt Style it goes much deeper than that. Their clothing is an expression of community. Just as individual threads are pulled together to make fabric, so are the diverse stories of servicemen and servicewomen. Established by CEO Daniel Alarik in 2009, Grunt Style is a clothing company that caters to military personnel, their families, and their supporters. The clothing, prominently featuring patriotic slogans and graphics, allow the wearer to boldly proclaim their military identity; an identity solidified in shared sacrifice.
On Memorial Day, Grunt Style hosted a gathering to honor those who have lost their lives in combat situations as well as their families left behind. There were about 500 in attendance throughout the night, almost all of them wearing Grunt Style apparel or their service uniforms emblazoned with badges. Even those who sacrificed their mobility for our freedom came out with the aid of wheelchairs and service animals. The event truly was an intersection of differences set aside to celebrate a common culture of patriotism and solidarity. Although Grunt Style hosted the event, they were not alone in honoring the spirit of Memorial Day. They were helped by their official sponsors: Hero Sports, Redcon One, Merica Bourbon, and Bravo Company BBQ and Catering.
One booth, in particular, was dedicated to collecting the names of family members and friends who died in combat. With a provided inkwell and parchment, attendees wrote the names of their loved ones who died in service to the country. By the end of the evening, hundreds of names lined the paper. These sheets were then gathered together and placed in a silver bucket which was later symbolically lit aflame as a celebration of the sacrifice given by those soldiers.
Daniel Alarik then made a speech about the values and virtues that the military family holds dear. He invited all those in attendance with a drink in their hand to raise it in honor of those who have sacrificed their lives. With the help of a cherry picker, he then placed the ashes in the finial* at the top of the flagpole, providing a somber and fitting end to the evening. At the end of the event, the spotlights remained lit, shining high into the sky and giving proof though the night that our flag was still there.
*Often incorrectly referred to as a ‘truck’, the brass sphere located at the top of the flagpole has no proper name. The truck is only the pulley assembly. The sphere is a type of finial, similar to the decorative shapes commonly found on the top of iron fence posts.