Two weeks ago, at a family gathering celebrating our oldest son's birthday, one of my daughters-in-law received a call informing her of the death of her cousin, a Marine, in Afghanistan.
The worst of times:
- Thinking of his parents, his widow, his sons, his extended family, and his friends.
- Realizing that this young man was my youngest son's age.
- Not being able to go to California to pay our respects and support our daughter-in-law and her family.
The best of times:
- Traveling to this young man's childhood hometown for a memorial service.
- Driving to the church in the procession escorted by fire trucks and police cruisers, turning the corner and seeing what would become hundreds of people standing at attention, waving the flag of the country for which this young Marine died, and displaying such affirming messages to his family.
- Honor guards at the church, both inside and out.
- His commanding officer, who made sure all knew that if it hadn't been for this young man's bravery in 2005-2006, he, himself, would probably not have been there.
The bittersweet times:
- Remembering this young Marine in his dress uniform, escorting his wife at his cousin's wedding.
- Spending Easter with him and his family and enjoying him interacting with his boys and wife during the egg hunt.
- He believed that he was doing called to do what he did, as have so many of our service people in the USA. Semper Fidelis. You will be missed, you will be remembered.