SNOHOMISH, WA, USA
CPL, B CO, 1ST BN, 5TH MAR, (2 BCT, 2D MAR DIV), 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA
RAMADI, IRAQ 05/30/2005
A year ago here in the foothills to the Cascades, Brian and Shellie Starr began Memorial Day as they always had. It was the start of summer, a weekend of camping, cookouts and catching up. Brian drove to his office. “I had all these errands to run,” Shellie recalls.
Returning from a noon lunch with her daughter and an exchange student, she received two Marine Corps casualty officers at her front door. The Starrs’ 22-year-old son, Corporal Jeffrey Brian Starr, had been killed in action in Iraq at 1:30 a.m. Seattle time.
A sniper found the shoulder opening of Starr’s armored vest. The 7.62 mm bullet ripped across his chest and into his heart. He fell instantly.
“The cliches of it being a parent’s worst nightmare are true,” Shellie says. “I don’t remember last summer at all. The fog didn’t begin to lift until September.”
Twenty-three-year-old Emmylyn Anonical was Jeffrey Starr’s girlfriend. When she heard the news from Shellie Starr she said:
“I wasn’t expecting it. I was so sure he was going to come home,” Anonical remembers. “I was home alone, and I freaked out. I didn’t know what to do.”
Two months after his death, Starr’s belongings were at his parents’ home in Snohomish. Brian Starr was overcome with emotion when he booted up his son’s small computer. His son Jeffrey had left a letter to his girlfriend to be read in the case of his death. Jeff Starr’s last memorable words would resonate with others, from his family, girlfriend and close buddies to the nation’s most powerful newspaper and the president of the United States.
Jeffrey Starr’s letter home
I’m writing this for one reason only. On April 13th, 2004, I thought I was going to die. My only regret is that I hadn’t spent enough time with you. That I hadn’t told you everything I wanted to. Being in Iraq for a third time, I don’t want to feel that way again because it was the worst feeling ever. So this letter is in case I won’t ever get the chance to tell you.
Obviously, if you are reading this, then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this; that is why I’m writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I’m pushing my chances. I don’t regret going. Everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq; it’s not to me. I’m here helping these people so that they can live the way we live, not to have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators, to do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark.
I don’t want to leave you behind. I saw myself marrying you, having a family and growing old together. Unfortunately, I won’t get to experience those things. I know you are crying and, sorry to say, but I’m glad to have someone as beautiful and special as you to cry for me. I’m only asking that you don’t cry for very long. This is what has happened and there is nothing that can be done. Don’t ever forget me and remember that there are good men out there who will love you as much as I do. Find the one that makes you happy. You deserve this.
I’m sorry that I won’t be able to see you again. I’m sorry I won’t be able to see you graduate college. I’m sorry I won’t get to kiss you or hold you again. I’m sorry I won’t get to feel your touch or your hand in mine again. I’m sorry because those were the best moments in all my life. I really love you, not the puppy love or the college love. Not the love you say because you feel it’s time in the relationship to say it. I really, really loved you. Everything about you.
Well, I can’t type forever. I know you want to read more but I thought simple and to the point would be easier.
I love you with all my heart.
Goodbye, my Love.