Freedom comes at a cost! We have all heard the quote “Freedom is not Free” and most Americans enjoy those freedoms but have not had to pay much, if anything at all. Our family has paid deeply, not financially with our life savings, but even more precious than gold, with a life.
I’m sitting in my Heroes room as I type this and am surrounded by pictures of Heroes who have paid that price and have fought, some bled and many have died so that we could be free. Next to me are the uniforms that my son Marc Alan Lee wore on the battlefield, jumping from aircraft, training or attending an official ceremony. His combat boots and dive gear sit on the floor next to me and on the shelf is the final cloth that we would associate with Marc, the folded flag I received at his funeral.
It’s hard to believe that Aug 2nd it will be seven years since I was notified that Marc had heroically sacrificed his life so that his teammates could live and our freedoms would be protected. As you can imagine that is the most devastating news a parent could receive and the toughest day of my life.
In 115 degree temperatures, carrying 150 plus pounds of gear, and fighting for 2 hours in the worst battle in Ramadi, Marc and his teammates never quit. They persevered, steady, in their course of action, with purpose, in spite of difficulties and obstacles. Marc’s buddy Ryan had been severally wounded and twice Marc stood up into the direct line of fire to provide cover to get the medic up on the roof and then again to get everyone down. They RESCUED Ryan and sent him off for medical attention and they returned to their base. Discouraged, exhausted, physically and emotionally, thinking that Ryan had probably died, they stripped off their gear and got some water to refresh themselves. The Chief came in and informed them they had just found 30 of the terrorists who had just attacked them. Without hesitation Marc answered “Roger that lets go get them.”
They didn’t whine and complain, they didn’t listen to what their body was telling them, but they let their minds take control and they persevered and went back to the battlefield. Marc’s final actions that day would find him standing into the direct line of fire, persevering, even in the face of death. He never quit!!!!
Losing a child is the deepest pain anyone could ever experience and I wouldn’t wish that even for my enemies. Time changes the frequency and depth of that pain, but it never completely goes away and as we approach the anniversary of his death it resurfaces. The wounds of grief are healing, but this is one of those times you see the tender scars, yet…………..I’m reminded of Marc’s actions, and recognize perseverance is exactly what has helped me to heal and encourage others through their grief process.
The days following Marc’s death I knew God would give me the strength to survive. It wasn’t what I was feeling at the time, but what I knew in my mind. Just as Marc and his teammates didn’t listen to their physically exhausted bodies but let their minds take control, I choose to do the same.
I will be honest and tell you that there have been tears flowing as I write this and think of Marc and how much I miss him, his crazy sense of humor and antics, his ornery grin, his beautiful brown eyes, his amazing hugs, his ability to love so selflessly, his faith, and love for his family.
Perseverance is described as “steady, persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.” Marc displayed that throughout his life and I think that is one of the main character qualities in a SEAL.
I made the choice in the midst of the grief, difficulties, obstacles and discouragement to never quit and persevere. The purpose: to honor and remember Marc, the course of action: to thank and support those who have paid for my freedoms and the families left behind, the state: steady and faithful with God’s love and joy.
Just above me I have a wall with pictures of my family, biological and adopted. All of them were very connected with and deeply loved Marc. It has been a blessing and pleasure to embrace my new family, my “adopted boys” and watch them as they marry and have babies and live life. They were Marc’s final gift to me.
So as you remember the sacrifice Marc made on August 2, 2006, please also remember the sacrifice of each of our fallen heroes and their families. I would encourage each of you to read Marc’s amazing last letter home and accept his challenge, and do a random act of kindness and then pass a copy of his letter to the person you do it for!
HOOYAH MARC LEE! YOU ARE NEVER FORGOTTEN!
MAF Remembers Medal of Honor Recipient Air Force Col. Bud Day, 88
Retired Air Force Col. George “Bud” Day, a Medal of Honor recipient who served as an enlisted Marine during World War II and as an Air Force pilot in both Korea and Vietnam died Saturday, July 27, at his Shalimar, Florida home surrounded by family. Day spent over 5 years as a POW in Vietnam and was Arizona Sen. John McCain’s cellmate at the notorious “Hanoi Hilton”
Day was shot down over North Vietnam on Aug. 26, 1967. He bailed out, but with significant injuries including a broken right arm and knee and temporary blindness in one eye. Day eluded capture for 10 days before being taken prisoner where we was brutally tortured but never divulged sensitive information thus earning him the Medal of Honor. In all, he earned more than 70 medals during service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam including more than 50 for combat. In addition to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, he was awarded the Air Force Cross, the highest combat award for airmen.
In Vietnam, he was John McCain’s cellmate. During his imprisonment he was tortured so badly that after being freed in 1973, he never recovered full function of his hands and arms.
“As awful as it sounds, no one could say we did not do well. (Being a POW) was a major issue in my life and one that I am extremely proud of. I was just living day to day,” he said in a 2008 interview with The Associated Press. “One really bad cold and I would have been dead.”
In a Twitter post Sunday, McCain remembered Day as “my friend, my leader, my inspiration.”
Born Feb. 24, 1925, in Sioux City, Iowa, Day enlisted in the Marines in 1942 while still in high school. After returning home, Day graduated law school and passed the bar exam in 1949. In 1950 Day joined the Iowa National Guard and attended flight school. He was called to active duty in the Air Force the next year and did two tours as a bomber pilot in the Korean War. Day volunteered for service in Vietnam where he was assigned to a fighter wing in 1967. After the war and his release, Day retired to the Florida Panhandle in 1977 but remained active in veterans’ rights issues.
Day is survived by Doris, his wife of over 50 years, four children and fourteen grandchildren.
Congrats to our Weber Grill and SF 49ers Limited Edition Football Winners!
As part of our fund raising efforts for Troopathon 6 held June 27, 2013, Move America Forward received generous donations of a limited edition San Francisco 49ers Football from the 49ers and a Weber SPIRIT® E-310™gas grill from Weber Grill.
We are pleased to announce that our Troopathon Giveaway winners have been selected and thanks to their generous donations to the troops will be receiving special prizes from two very special organizations that went above and beyond this year to help Move America Forwards 6th Annual Troopathon!!!
THANK YOU SF 49ERS
Congratulations: BRENDA H. – Danville, CA
Her donation qualified her to win the limited edition Wilson “The Duke” Military Appreciation 49ers Football with a camouflage NFL ribbon on the side
THANK YOU WEBER GRILL
Congratulations: BUCK O. – Tucson, AZ
His generous Donation to the troops qualified and won a brand new Weber SPIRIT® E310™Gas Grill from the leaders in American Grilling.
CONGRATS TO THE LUCKY WINNER OF THE MAF + STAG ARMS AR-15 GIVEAWAY!
MAF is proud to announce the conclusion of our TROOPATHON AR-15 GIVEAWAY made possible by STAG ARMS. We made this special giveaway free and available in order to help spread the word about Troopathon and our efforts to support the troops overseas! Thousands of patriots signed up to win and we are pleased to announce that one of them has been selected and notified!
Congratulations to Jim E. of Michigan whose name was picked by random drawing as winner of the STAG ARMS AR-15! Jim will have a choice of 3 different STAG ARMS models, each available in left-handed or right-handed configuration.
When notified as being the winner, Jim E. had this to say:
|“I’m super grateful! My family and I love to enjoy the outdoors and shooting together. I support our troops 100% and I hope they all come home safely.”– Jim E. Winner of
STAG ARMS AR-15
U.S. Coast Guard Day honors the military branch that protects our waters and shorelines.
On August 4, 1790, the Revenue Cutter Service was created by the U.S. Congress. Congress authorized the construction of ten cutters. These ships were built to enforce U.S. tariff laws. The Revenue Cutter Service was the predecessor the U.S. Coast Guard. The name “Coast Guard” was first used in 1915.
Celebrate U.S. Coast Guard Day by learning more about the responsibilities and functions of the U.S. Coast Guard. They are now playing an even more extensive role in Homeland Security to protect our country.
We salute Coast Guard personnel today and every day.
We all know how great a shower feels after a long hard day of work but often our soldiers are out in the field and just don’t have the luxury of showering off all that dirt and grime. Move America Forward proudly includes Hoo-Ahhs® sturdy, non-shredding over sized per-moistened field towels in all our troop support packages. MAF has always included hand wipes in our packages, but we felt there had to be a product out there that could really tackle the grime and sweat our hard working troops deal with every day without leaving them sticky and dried out like an alcohol based wipe.
Hoo-Ahhs® are alcohol- free and moistened with an unscented aloe and vitamin E based formula that’s gently on skin but strong enough to clean off greasy camouflage paint, sweat, sunscreen and insect repellent.
If you haven’t sent a support package in a while, why not SEND A CARE PACKAGE NOW, including Hoo-Ahhs® and lots of other great treats and necessities for our troops.
Calling all Troops!
Signing up to receive packages is easy!
If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.
If you prefer, copy this link and e-mail it to your soldier so they can sign up themselves. Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you.