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Cape war hero Eggers among those honored in President’s Memorial Day tribute

Family invited to national service at Fort McHenry

May 28, 2020
By CJ HADDAD (cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

A fallen Cape Coral solider received the ultimate tribute from the President of the United States on Memorial Day.

Army Capt. and Green Beret Daniel W. Eggers, who was killed in action May 29, 2004, was honored by President Donald Trump at Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Monday, with his family mere feet away.

Today marks the 16th anniversary that Eggers, along with two of his comrades, struck a land mine in Kandahar, Afghanistan, during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Article Photos

Members of the family of Army Capt. and Green Beret Daniel W. Eggers, who was killed in action May 29, 2004, gather prior to President Trump’s Memorial Day tribute at Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Monday. Those pictured include Margaret, Bill, Rebecca, Kamea Gallegos (in front), Billy, Kassidy, John and Alex Gallegos.

Contributed photo

"It was an extraordinary weekend and an extraordinary Memorial Day," said Daniel's father, Bill Eggers. "We were so surprised to hear our son's name come out of the words of the president, we did not expect that."

Bill Eggers, along with his wife Margaret and daughter-in-law Rebecca sat front row for Trump's Memorial Day Tribute in Maryland at the same location where Francis Scott Key penned what would eventually become America's national anthem.

"Today, we honor Daniel's incredible life and exceptional valor, and we promise you that we will cherish his blessed memory forever," Trump said.

The president detailed Daniel having been born in Cape Coral, eventually attending Citadel Military Collage in South Carolina.

In 2004, Daniel made his second deployment to Afghanistan. He and his team were pursuing a group of terrorist when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. He was also fluent in Arabic.

Also present were Eggers' two sons, John and Billy Eggers, who were just 6 and 3 in 2004 when their father died.

Now, both young men are following in their father's footsteps, both currently enrolled at The Citadel.

Bill and Margaret were flown to the ceremony after a call from the White House inviting them. The Eggers were the only Gold Star Family to be invited to the ceremony at Fort McHenry, and they did not expect for their son to be mentioned by the president.

"It was a complete surprise," Margaret Eggers said. "When we actually got there and were seated and the president came out and started to speak, a little bit into the speech he mentioned our son and family, and we were just very surprised. We didn't expect it to be on a personal level like that.

"It was a sense of amazement. You do feel honored. We were just very blessed to have Danny and share him with others. He was a very beloved person by so many."

While Memorial Day and the month as a whole can be a difficult time for the Eggers, the memory of their son will always live on in their hearts, minds and souls.

"We talk about him all the time. There's always something that reminds you day-to-day," Margaret said. "We remember him every day."

While the weekend was about remembering their fallen son and the countless soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, Bill and Margaret also were able to spend time with their grandchildren, who they do not often see as they live in Virginia.

They were also able to visit Daniel's grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

"We're a very close family," Bill said. "It's always a wonderful time to see Danny's kids and his wife."

Rebecca Eggers remarried about five years ago and has a little girl with husband Alex.

To Bill and Margaret, they are all part of the family.

Daniel, the oldest, was also survived by six siblings: Anne Marie, Stephen, Maris, Billy, Mary Jeanne and Rosie.

"We're Army strong, our family, and we keep our heads high and keep on marching on. And that's how Danny would have liked us to be," Bill said. "He was a man of humor, a man of honor and a humble leader."

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj

 
 
 

 

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