Gold Star Dad

The thoughts of a father who has lost a son to war

The Bravest of the Brave

Posted by fozzynok on 08/08/2009

I have met some very strong and brave people in my life. As a child, some my elders were the most brave and strong people I had ever met, My grandpa for being all that he was, from a hobo in the depression to bull rider to just a feisty old Okie who taught me that it was OK to make a fool out of yourself in front of your kids and for them. My dad was always a brave man to me growing up because he spent a lifetime in the service in wars in foreign countries and missed a lot of our lives for the sake of protecting the country and us along with it. I’ve met people in the service in my time as an Infantryman and as a civilian, from Nick Rowe the Green Beret to Kenny Roberts the road racer I thought that I met brave men and they are! But the men and women that I have met in the last year are the bravest of the brave and they have all touched me deeply and forever.

From the day we got the visit from the officer and chaplain on that Sunday I knew what bravery was! They to me are probably the bravest of the brave! They had to come and knock on a door of a stranger’s house in a town that they may or may not have been too and tell them that their Father, Son, or other loved one has been killed in some horrible way and that any and all of the dreams and hopes that they had for their loved one, is at that instant gone forever. For the mothers, their baby was gone, for the fathers, their apprentice and replacement in the world is gone, the brothers and sisters forever lost their sibling. These men never knew us and they never knew our son personally but they had to stand tall and remain in a house full of emotionally destroyed people who at best would be unpredictable. I’m sure now and forever that there is nothing worse on this earth than their jobs. I will always honor men and women who have and volunteer for this important yet dreadful task.

The Recruiters: Brave men who brought my son from civilian to military man, my son and even our whole family had gained life long friends there. They came to our home the day after the notification and brought with them the “casualty officer”. There are regulations about the recruiters not making their presence felt during these times, but they came anyway because they needed to come and we needed to have them there. The recruiters are all combat veterans who have seen this war from the front lines, they knew the risks and they also took their turns when it was time. They all told my son of the risks and would not allow him to sign the papers until it was all explained to him. When my son was killed, they had the courage to show up at my home to share the grief that we were feeling. They didn’t have to do this, but they had the character to do it.

The Casualty officer: Another man who showed great caring, skill and courage in a job that few could do at the level that this man did. He never had met my son, he didn’t know us from Adam, yet he came to our home to help us through the process. He had many things that he had to do and things that he had to present us with that were as painful as anything that anyone had to endure. We were strangers to this man, yet he felt all of our pain and helped greatly in the process of getting our son home to us. He walked with us all the way from the announcement to my son’s death, through the funeral to the return of my son’s personal effects from Iraq.

The Escort: We had a very squared away Sgt who we got to meet. He is another of the bravest people in the world to me. He had the duty of escorting my son back home to Oklahoma. He had to really wonder what he was getting himself into. He flew into our local airfield and was greeted by practically a whole town. He must have felt quite small and all alone for at least the first day there. We have met him again at the division remembrance ceremony; he was our driver and escort. He volunteered for this duty, and he is now part of the new extended family that has been created.

His fellow troops, his band of brothers: When we got the news it was a real hard time. When the first shock wears off, you start to think of the others who were so important to my son. The men were more close to my son than even we are. These men lived and went through things together that are for non-military people completely foreign concepts. Fighting for your country is what you do in the big picture, fighting for your brothers is what it always has and always will be. We found within a couple of hours that everyone else in my son’s Humvee were basically unharmed. Some scratches and some hearing loss, but everyone else was OK. We have since had the honor of meeting some of the men who my son served with. We have send cards and letters to the medivac crew, to the surgeon who happened to be the last person who my son spoke with before leaving this earth. They are all special people and helped my son through the whole process of living in this hell we call earth and in never being or feeling alone in his untimely and violent departure. We owe them more than they will ever owe us. The debt can never be paid.

We met with the medic who treated my son at the scene of the EFP attack. He did everything that he humanly could and all that anyone could expect. The fact that my son even made it to the hospital at all is a sign and testament of his skill and how hard he worked to save my son. He traveled a great distance to meet with us. He didn’t have to and was a great young man to even do that for us. We all hopefully found a little peace knowing that there is no malice between us, just the nameless faceless cowards who we fight and will continue to fight until the whole world gets sick of this religiously based barbarism and can free itself from it forever.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: