Rae McQueary got the news about her husband, Jeremy.
Stricken with grief, Rae doesn't remember what was said when another Marine came to her door Thursday to tell her of Jeremy's death.
"It's just unbelievable. I mean, it can't be," she said. "It's still kind of hard to believe that it's him. I have not seen a body. ... In my heart, I just want to believe that it's not real." (Source)
Please join me tonight in marking the loss of Sgt. Jeremy R. McQueary, 27, of Columbus, Ind. and of the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C. and remembering his service to our nation.
Tonight we mark the passing of Sgt. Dillon B. Foxx, 22, of Traverse City, Mich., once and always an Eagle:
As a young boy, Dillon was a student at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in Old Hickory, TN. He was one of our AJS Eagles. Our young eagle gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country and our freedom. Thoughts and prayers from this community and our school go out to his family and friends at this most difficult time. At Andrew Jackson School, we will never forget. Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle. -- Ms. Floyd -teacher (Old Hickory, TN)
Tonight, we light a candle of memory against the darkness of grief and loss. We remember.
This retrospective, the first of two, is a compilation of 2009's "I Got the News Today" diaries, tributes to American service members who died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When you click on the links, you'll find their stories--the details that their friends remember, the last calls home to parents, their MySpace messages to loved ones. These are not numbers. They were husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, parents, children, friends, colleagues, brothers and sisters in arms.
If you are new to the series, please click on a date and read about a few of these lives. If you have been with us this year, please know how much your presence has meant. To the families and friends who may read this--we have not forgotten your loved one.
As in other years, we have chosen "We Remember Them," by Rabbis Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer, to help us reflect on these losses. Thank you for being here tonight to remember.
Please also visit Part 2 of this diary.
This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived,
As freezing persons recollect the snow--
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.
-- From Emily Dickinson’s "After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes"
Tonight, we mark the passing of three more brave spirits: Cpl. Xhacob Latorre, 21, of Waterbury, Conn.; Pfc. Jaiciae L. Pauley, 29, of Austell, Ga.; and Pvt. Jhanner A. Tello, 29, of Los Angeles, Calif. About two of them, we know very little. We do know that they were all loved, and that the hour of lead has begun for their families and friends.
Please join me in honoring these fallen service members, and offering condolences to all who mourn their loss.
I have written many diaries for the "I Got the News Today" series. And the tears still come when I hear stories like this:
...Leah (Rao) had to deliver the bad news. She had received a call from the military saying they wanted to talk to her -- they didn't say why.
Leah immediately called the Hauerkens, and she was still on the line with them when the messengers came.
Sharon Hauerken: "And I said to her: what do you see, what do you see. And she said they're pulling up and there are two men in Class A uniforms and one's carrying a Bible. and I knew."
Dan Hauerken: "Our hearts just totally sunk at that moment because we just knew."
Tonight, we honor the service, and mourn the passing, of Sgt. Elijah J. Rao, 26, of Lake Oswego, Ore. and of the 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo., who was killed by an IED in Afghanistan. Please join me tonight in remembering him.
Sons of the Dark and Bloody Ground
Ye must not slumber there,
Where stranger steps and tongues resound
Along the heedless air.
Your own proud land's heroic soil
Shall be your fitter grave;
She claims from war his richest spoil --
The ashes of her brave.
--From Theodore O'Hara's "The Bivouac of the Dead"
Three more service members -- Lance Cpl. Nicholas J. Hand, 20, of Kansas City, Mo.; Staff Sgt. John J. Cleaver, 36, of Marysville, Wash.; and Sgt. Daniel A. Frazier, 25, of Saint Joseph, Mich. --have come home, three caskets borne on white-gloved hands, three flags respectfully folded and given into the hands of loved ones. In this week of giving thanks, please take a few moments to remember just how much these three men sacrificed for their nation.
They gave all.
UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you 'grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
--Robert Louis Stevenson
Three more knocks at the door came this week. The families of three men--Sgt. Benjamin W. Sherman, 21, of Plymouth, Mass.; Staff Sgt. Ryan L. Zorn, 35, of Upton, Wyo.; and U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian M. Patton, 37, of Freeport, Illinois and Nanticoke, Pennsylvania--got the news. With the opening of the door came news of the closing of lives. No more cheering for the Red Sox. No more playing Santa for comrades. No more fishing, hunting or playing football under autumn skies.
They died doing what they loved, and still we mourn. Please join me in honoring them tonight.