Honoring a Fallen Soldier


Camilla S. & Kaitlyn M.

The communtity has come together in honor of Specialist Alex Joseph Ram.

By Abigail B., Day Creek Intermediate School

Tragedy struck the night of February 1, 2022. 20-year-old Specialist Alex Joseph (AJ) Ram of the US Army was pronounced dead while deployed in Syria. Soldiers die in the service of our country nearly every day, but SPC Ram’s case was a little out of the ordinary. His family was notified soon after, yet they were unaware of the long road of heartache that his loss would leave.

AJ was an extremely hard worker, something everybody was aware of. He went into boot camp on January 13, 2020, and graduated during the summer of 2021. He had always had a very giving nature, jumping on any chance he could get to help anyone he could. His family was always his number one priority; f he could do anything to make them happier, he would. 

“He loved helping people. He liked volunteering to help people. He did way more than he had to. At school, the teacher Mrs.Nelson [Alex’s choir teacher] said he would do all kinds of stuff for people, just to make them happy. Whether it was a birthday or there was no reason, he just helped,” said Alex’s father, Kaiser Ram.

Why was his loss considered unordinary? Alex did not die under combat-related circumstances, as he did not die while actively fighting. This affected the mourning process for the family, the government, and the community. At this time, there is no certain cause of death. When a person passes under the control of the US government in non-combat-related circumstances, there are multiple possibilities of death. There is no way to know exactly what happened until the government makes a formal statement. Most people can only imagine the tension and agony this has brought his family.

Due to this state of affairs, Alex’s return home was atypical. His body landed on US soil on February 7 at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. His body was autopsied before he was flown into Ontario International Airport one week later for a ceremony honoring his service. His family was ecstatic to finally have him back, even if it wasn’t the way they had anticipated. 

“I just thought in my head welcome home son. I just felt like he was closer to us. We got to feel he was finally home and not so far away,” said Kaiser Ram.

As a homegrown resident of Rancho Cucamonga, the community wanted to pay its respects to AJ. Dylan Merola was another local soldier who died in the fall withdrawal from Afghanistan. To honor Merola, residents lined the streets of the city to honor him. The same thing was done for Alex. Red was known to be his favorite color, so people held red signs, balloons, and banners, as well as American flags, all in honor of his heroic actions for our country. 

“Driving through the city was just really touching. To see all those people supporting us. If he was here, he would’ve been a part of that. He would’ve been out there holding a flag. So he was there, just not the way we thought,” said Alex’s stepmother Joani O’Brian-Ram.

This story was originally published on The Day Creek Howl on February 28, 2022.