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Sean R McMillin

Reno, Nevada, US

U.S. Marine Corps

LCPL, Squadron VMM 266

9/28/2012, Marysville, Tennessee, US

From Sean’s father Rob:

The look that you gave me as my son; the look that only you could give, is going to be missed. Your eyes, your smile, your laughter. When you came into this world, your mom had to deliver you cesarean and the anesthesia had her a little groggy, so as soon as they handed you to me, I bent down to bring you close to her so she could see you and she said, “He’s so beautiful.” While the doctors finished with your mom, the nurses wanted to take you to a back room to check you out, but I wouldn’t let go of you. They finally allowed me to carry you back there myself. I didn’t want you out of my sight. I stayed with you through the exam, and then scooped you back up. I was so proud of my son … my boy. Soon your mom was able to hold you along with Grandma and Grandpa and we were quickly all in love.

Who knew back then that you would grow into this bright young man that would touch so many lives? Your childhood was filled with camping, hunting, and fishing trips. The time we spent with your Grandpa and the rest of our family, will always be dearly cherished memories in my heart. Harvesting your first deer at twelve years old was such a proud moment for me, and my pride swelled even more when you quickly ran to check on your mom, who was a little upset at the whole thing, to make sure she was okay. Even at that young age, your heart was big enough to be more concerned with her than with the excitement of the kill. Before you took off though, I had to remind you to wipe off the deer blood that you had marked your face with. My boy … one part compassion mixed with a good dose of manliness.

In your teenage years, I worried so much that you would take after me too much as far as my attitude — and watched as you did just that. Funerals tend to put people up on pedestals and transform them into saints. Well, boy … you were no saint … but you grew into the man I dreamed that you would be. You treated people right and expected that in return. You stuck up for the underdog, and would definitely never allow a woman to be treated badly in your presence.

I would love to take credit for all of that, but I saw bits and pieces of your mom, and your grandma and grandpa, and even some of your talks with Darcy may have sunk in, because I know you got lots of good stuff that got you past inheriting my attitude.

I’m so glad that you got to experience love with Kaylah. We told Cassy that two grandkids was our babysitting limit … so I’m not sure what we were going to do with three new ones and two more sparkles in your eye, but all of your plans were met with joy and hope and anticipation. You really had it all figured out and were living your life well and I’m so glad for that.

When I got the call that two Marines were headed to your mom’s house, I knew what that meant. When you were a kid and hurt yourself and were crying, I would always tell you to love the pain because it ain’t gonna love you back. I would have told you that if I had been riding with you that day. I know from talking with your friend Curt, who was with you, that you had no idea how badly you were hurt; that you laughed and joked with him and with the paramedics and thought you would be treated for bumps and bruises and maybe a broken rib or two and be telling stories of a close call in a couple hours. You had no idea that you wouldn’t even make it to the hospital, or back to crack a few beers with your friends. You didn’t know you wouldn’t make it back to base, or to deployment, or to your wedding and the rest of your life. You didn’t know what I know now. You didn’t have this pain that ain’t gonna love me back.

All my memories of our camping trips are good ones and I treasured them even before this, before I knew there would be no more of them. Last night we had our last campout right here, and as I read Louis Lamoure to you and talked to you about our shared memories, I got to spend my last night with you above ground. What I will always regret is not having a chance to ride with you. I will pat my back twice now every time I get on the bike – once for your Uncle Louis, and once now … for you.


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