Monday, May 30, 2011

The Home of the Free because of the Brave

Today we honor those who have given their lives for our freedom. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and pride as I remember our close loved ones and many others who have laid down their lives for our sake. I sent Braden an e-mail this morning asking him if he could write something that would honor these brave men.

This is what he had to say:

"The Ones We Can't Afford to Lose"

"Some men have in inimitable ability to bear the challenges and trials of life with a smile. They not only survive, but thrive in the face of hardship, mental stress, and physical fatigue. With dirty hands and faces, sweat soaked uniforms, and hungry stomachs they approach the day's work with a spirit of joy, camaraderie, and vigorous enthusiasm. Come nightfall they stand their turn in vigilant watch as their brothers rest at their feed in the solace of their protection. We all hear the call; we all rise to the challenge; precious few do it with a joyful spirit as sure and as bright as the desert sun. The best among us, these are the ones we could not afford to lose.

1 April 2010- For the first time in my career, one of my Marines would return home beneath an American flag. Sgt Frank World would not experience the excitement of the plane ride home. He would not kiss his wife, hold his son, or meet his new daughter when he stepped off the bus. At our company's mess night, he would not be present to laugh and remember the months of trials gone by. A violent explosion marked the beginning of a dark hour when no strength or perseverance or will of man could change what had come to pass. He would be remembered that mess night for his indomitable spirit and infectious enthusiasm.

5 May 2010- A sniper's round took my classmate, teammate, and dear friend as he worked shoulder to shoulder with the Marines of his platoon. Bull Barrett established himself as a force for change in Helmand, fearlessly and persistently engaging the local population to establish mutual respect, trust, and understanding. He has touched the fond memories of many Afghan children, who will vividly remember the man who stood exposed to the hate around him as he gave them candy and a warm, friendly smile. I will never forget our days traveling for road games, the pre-game locker room, or the excitement we shared during our football games. I will never forget the fond memories of home and days gone by we shared during truck rides back to Annapolis. I will never forget the memorial service in Marja when the roll call came to Captain Brandon Barrett's name, and the reply was silence.

12 June 2010- Life is precious and fragile, and surviving the enemy is no guarantee against the perils we daily take for granted. While moving his family across the country, a tire blew on his moving truck, setting in motion a disaster that would take the life of Capt Nick Bourgeois. I remember how he spoke of his deep love for God, his wife, his sons, and music. I remember his positive attitude during IOC exercises specifically intended to cause fatigue and frustration; his demeanor was easy and cheerful, and he truly expressed joy in all circumstances.

I wanted to add my Uncle Frank who gave his life while fighting in the Vietnam War. Here is an excerpt from the article that was written for him after he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

8 April 1972- PFC Frank Brochetti distinguished himself by gallantry in action while serving as Radio Telephone Operator of the Third Regional Assistance Command's Nui Ba Den Radio Relay Site, Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam. On this date, the radio relay site suddenly began receiving extremely intense mortar, rocket propelled grenade, and small arms fire from three directions. Taking immediate action, PFC Brochetti ran to the radio relay building fearlessly exposing himself to this intense fire. Upon reaching the building, he engaged the attacking force with small arms fire while his Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge prepared to destroy classified equipment and publications even though the building was receiving intense fire and was burning. PFC Brochetti was wounded by an exploding grenade. Although wounded, he still directed fire on the attacking enemy forces until he succeeded in reaching the fighting position. Numerous enemy assaults were directed at his fighting position until it was totally demolished by satchel charges and RPG fire. He continued directing fire at the enemy until he was mortally wounded and his position was overrun. PFC Brochetti's conspicuous gallantry in action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflected great credit upon himself and the military services.

The best our country and Corps has to offer- these men we could not afford to lose. They are remembered today. They are remember forever.

Semper fidelis. Until we meet again, brothers.

"For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."
~Romans 13:4

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."
~Job 1:21

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
~John 15:11-13

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