Today is August 2nd. This day will never be the same for me. For most people it’s just another sunny summer day filled with normal routines, but for me it will always be “that day.” Aug 2nd, 2006 is a day that forever changed my life.
It was another sunny day in Arizona 7 years ago, but across the world in Ramadi, Iraq it was a different story. I couldn’t even tell you what I did that day but that evening I was at my small group and we were celebrating my birthday which had been the week before.
Within 30 minutes life would change from cake, ice cream and receiving a gift of a Willow Tree Angel named “Courage” to using that courage to survive the most devastating moments of my life.
I arrived home to find my son Kristofer waiting on the sidewalk to inform me the Navy was there. I glanced at the two Navy Officers in their dress whites on my porch and fell into Kristofer’s arms and cried “Noooooooooooo!” I knew why they were there.
We entered the house and they tried to prepare me for what they were about to tell me. They had been in my home for about 30 minutes while Kris tried to find me.
“We can tell by being in your home you are a woman of faith and you are going to need to rely on your faith for what we are about to tell you. Your son Marc Alan Lee has been killed in Action.” I couldn’t breathe; I felt a pain in the core of my being that no parent should ever have to feel. I began to cry my river.
It’s hard to believe it has been 7 years since that young man sacrificed his life defending his teammates, and our freedoms.
I still can’t comprehend how you can fight in an intense fire fight for two hours, in extreme temperatures of 120 degrees, carrying 150-180 lbs. and still have the mental focus and strength to make the decision to do the right thing and risk your life for others. Courage like Marc displayed doesn’t just happen. It is engrained in you by your creator, it is the choice to follow the Biblical morals and values taught to you, it is the opportunity to practice in other difficult circumstances that life brings you or your BUD’s instructors produce. Marc displayed physical and moral courage often witnessed on the battlefield, but courage need not be displayed only in the battlefields of combat as we fight and defend America and the freedoms we have been blessed with.
Our American History is rich in examples of patriots who displayed courage in numerous circumstances, willing to give everything if need be for what they believed in, to provide liberty and a better life to those they left behind.
There is a huge hole that is left from his absence. I will never share the dinner table with him, or feel his arms hug me in the way only a Mother and Son can hug, or see his smirky grin, beautiful brown eyes, dark curly locks, or experience his playful antics or hear his encouraging words. I won’t get that dance at his wedding, or hold his children and watch them grow, or have him hold me or care for me when I get old.
Yet, there are so many blessings in the midst of this deep loss. Marc’s sacrifice and his last letter home have inspired millions of people around the world. That young man is perhaps more alive in his spirit, that is still here, than he was in life.
I had no choice in the news the was delivered to me on Aug 2nd, but I did have a choice how I responded. God made it very clear to me that night as I read Psalms 27 that He was right there with me, He was my rock and my strength. “I would have lost hope if I had not believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. What on the Lord, be of good courage and he will strengthen your heart; wait I say on the Lord.” Psalms 27:15&16
I had seen God do amazing things in my life and I had confidence in Him that He would carry me through and be my strength. I chose to proceed through the grieving process and encourage and help others with the hope God gives me daily.
Accepting Marc’s last challenge in his glory letter, and
by God’s strength I have dedicated my life to supporting
and honoring our troops and the families they left behind.
Marc’s name means Mighty Warrior and today I remember him and as I do every day honor his courage and sacrifice. He left behind his weapon, his armor and his boots and laid down his baton which I picked up and carry on. To everyone who served and sacrificed for my freedoms and yours, I say “THANK YOU.”
Marc’s final gift to me was his teammates and I am blessed to have so many “adopted boys” and share their families and their love. God multiplied my family exponentially and I am a blessed woman.
So as you enjoy your sunny Aug 2nd and live your normal life and watch your children and grandchildren play today give them an extra hug, count your blessings, and remember our fallen warriors who sacrificed all of their tomorrows and hope for a future so you could enjoy today.
Remembering my son, my hero, my mighty warrior!
Gold Star Mother of Marc Alan Lee
Spokesperson and Military Liason
Move America Forward
MARC’S LAST LETTER HOME “GLORY LETTER”
Glory is something that some men chase and others find themselves stumbling upon, not expecting it to find them. Either way it is a noble gesture that one finds bestowed upon them. My question is when does glory fade away and become a wrongful crusade, or an unjustified means by which consumes one completely?
I have seen war. I have seen death, the sorrow that encompasses your entire being as a man breathes his last. I can only pray and hope that none of you will ever have to experience some of these things I have seen and felt here.
I have felt fear and have felt adrenaline pump through my veins making me seem invincible. I will be honest and say that some of the things I have seen here are unjustified and uncalled for. However for the most part we are helping this country. It will take more years than most expect, but we will get Iraq to stand on its own feet.
Most of what I have seen here I will never really mention or speak of, only due to the nature of those involved. I have seen a man give his food to a hungry child and family. Today I saw a hospital that most of us would refuse to receive treatment from. The filth and smell would allow most of us to not be able to stand to enter, let alone get medicine from. However you will be relieved to know that coalition forces have started to provide security for and supply medicine and equipment to help aid in the cause.
I have seen amazing things happen here; however I have seen the sad part of war too. I have seen the morals of a man who cares nothing of human life…I have seen hate towards a nation’s people who has never committed a wrong, except being born of a third world, ill educated and ignorant to western civilization. It is not everybody who feels this way only a select few but it brings questions to mind. Is it ok for one to consider themselves superior to another race?
Surprising we are not a stranger to this sort of attitude. Meaning that in our own country we discriminate against someone for what nationality they are, their education level, their social status. We distinguish our role models as multimillion dollar sports heroes or talented actors and actress who complain about not getting millions of dollars more then they are currently getting paid.
Our country is a great country, don’t get me wrong on this, otherwise none of us would be living there. My point of this is how can we come over here and help a less than fortunate country without holding contempt or hate towards them if we can’t do it in our country. I try to do my part over here, but the truth is over there, United States, I do nothing but take.
Ask yourself when was the last time you donated clothes that you hadn’t worn out. When was the last time you paid for a random stranger’s cup of coffee, meal or maybe even a tank of gas? When was the last time you helped a person with the groceries into or out of their car?
Think to yourself and wonder what it would feel like if when the bill for the meal came and you were told it was already paid for.
More random acts of kindness like this would change our country and our reputation as a country.
It is not unknown to most of us that the rest of the world looks at us with doubt towards our humanity and morals.
I am not here to preach or to say look at me, because I am just as at fault as the next person. I find that being here makes me realize the great country we have and the obligation we have to keep it that way.
The 4th has just come and gone and I received many emails thanking me for helping keep America great and free. I take no credit for the career path I have chosen; I can only give it to those of you who are reading this, because each one of you has contributed to me and who I am.
However what I do over here is only a small percent of what keeps our country great. I think the truth to our greatness is each other. Purity, morals and kindness, passed down to each generation through example. So to all my family and friends, do me a favor and pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other so that when your children come into contact with a great conflict that we are now faced with here in Iraq, that they are people of humanity, of pure motives, of compassion.
This is our real part to keep America free! HAPPY 4th Love Ya
P.S. Half way through the deployment can’t wait to see all of your faces