WHITE, AR, USA
SGT, COMPANY C, 1ST BATTALION, 187TH INFANTRY, 3 BCT, FORT CAMPBELL, KY
FOB SALERNO, AFGHANISTAN 03/09/2010
On Tuesday 09 March at 830 pm Sharon and I received the news no parent wants to hear that our youngest son had died. While we knew he was a soldier fighting in a foreign land in a dangerous job it is never news you truly expect. Since then the shock, the anger, the grief, they all have taken their toll on the whole family. We understand truly now the words that he is in the hands of a merciful and loving God.
We lost a husband, a son, a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin and a friend. We gained so much in return. We grew stronger through adversity. We grew stronger through love. Sharon and I gained a daughter in heart. We gained great friends in her family. We gained many sons and daughters in love that we know as the United States Army. Every one of them now means so much to us.
No longer are they faceless men and women. They are now other people’s loved ones we desire to see home safely so no one mourns like we have. We pray no one has to bury a child of theirs. They have become to us so much more than men and women in uniform. As I talk here now I heal. As we learn more of our remarkable son we heal. As we learn of his and other soldiers bravery, dedication to duty and desire to keep our country free we heal.
I am not here to summarize his death it falls to me to summarize his life. It falls to me to tell you of Jonathan, my son. He was not just any soldier; he was not just any Jonathan. He was OUR soldier, he was our Jonathan. How do I put into words who he was and what he meant to each of us?
How can I tell you how every time he said I love you what it meant to us? How can I in the time given to me tell you of this remarkable, brave, loving soldier, husband, and son and loved one? What words will describe his love of life? His sense of humor? How his face changed when he smiled? How his eyes softened when he looked at his best friend and wife Rachel. How he put her first in everything he did? What words do I use? How can I tell you how his mother felt when she spoke to him of her worries about his being at war and his work and he said “No biggie, Mom?”
How do you tell people what his last words to Rachel were before he left, what these words mean to not only her but us as well. “I will see you when I get off work.” He had a work to do and he was determined to see that work through to the end.
How do I tell you of his love for fishing and hunting? How many hours his brother and I spent with him doing those things? I remember him catching his first big catfish and his excitement. We took it home and as I was cleaning it I looked up to see him crying. I asked what was wrong and he told me “I wanted to frame it Daddy.”
Our last fishing trip together was last spring in West Virginia. We fished a farm pond of a friend and I warned Jonathan about the size of the catfish. How we laughed when we watched his brand new fishing pole was pulled off the dock into the water by one of those fish. Then we wondered how long it would be before he decided whether a 15 dollar pole was worth diving in after. Or not.
We receive letters from his fellow soldiers that tell us he was always counted on to bring in the right fire at the right time exactly when it was needed. It hits us that through his work and expertise many soldiers will go home alive and uninjured. How can we not be proud of him?
What he gave you was his best. Accept him or not that was up to you. But he offered you the best he had to offer.