Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
He is there, in his son's eyes.
Sgt Jose Rodriguez
DOD Identifies Army Casualty"He was always happy, always trying to be around, and he was really caring, very happy guy." This is way the family describes Sgt Jose Rodriguez, who was killed by enemy small arms fire in Kandahar province, Afghanistan on June 19th.
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Sgt. Jose Rodriguez, 22, of Gustine, Calif., died June 19, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from enemy, small arms fire. Rodriquez was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
After graduating from Gustine High School in 2008, where he excelled as an athlete, Sgt Rodriguez joined the Army. "He wanted to be in the army, he loved what he was doing, so we're all really proud that (you know) he did decide to join the army. He did something for himself and for his family."
Sgt Rodriguez was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and 2nd Infantry Division, based at Joint Base Lewis - McCord. He had been based in Washington since 2009. Sgt Rodriguez was supposed to be out o the Army last December, was stayed to better provide for his wife and son. He left for his second deployment to Afghanistan in April. As his mom, Marguerita Rodriguez, says, He was supposed to come back, because he had already done so. He was due back for good next year, and had plans to become a firefighter.
His young widow, Maria Rodriguez, who goes by Lupita, 19 years old, last heard her husband's voice on June 13. "I told him, 'We'll be waiting for you,' " she said. She never thought it would be the last time she would talk with him. "I could hear him actually laugh," she said. "We were happy, and he knew that we loved him." Explaining to her son, 13 month old Octavian, why his father isn't there won't be easy, but says Lupita, "I will always love him," she said. "I have so many memories that I can share with my son."
Marguerita Rodriguez remembers his love of Spiderman: When he was getting ready to leave for Georgia in 2008 to attend boot camp, they went to buy a bag for his clothes.
"He came out with a Spiderman backpack," his mother said. "I thought he was going to give it to my little grandson before leaving, but he said, 'No, it's for my clothes.' " Lupita Rodriguez said he later used the backpack to store pins and medals that were presented to him in the Army. "He loved Spiderman," she said.
During his time in the Army, Sgt. Rodriguez earned the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, NATO Medal, Certificate of Achievement, and Combat Infantry Badge.
"It's so painful to know that I'll never see him, hug or kiss him ever again," says Marguerita Rodriguez.
Helping Our Troops
If you wish to assist our military and their families, please consider Fisher House, which provides a place to stay for families near the treatment centers for our wounded veterans.
When our veterans come home, many will need jobs. Please look at the programs of Veterans Green Jobs and Welcome Back Veterans to see if you can help out.
About the IGTNT Series
"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our U.S. troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, blue jersey mom, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, a girl in MI, Spam Nunn, JeNoCo, Janos Nation, True Blue Majority, Proud Mom and Grandma, Sandy on Signal, CalNM, Ms Wings, maggiejean, racheltracks, ccasas, JaxDem, Ekaterin, TheFatLadySings, Wide Awake in Kentucky and me, Chacounne. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them.
Fallen service members whose names have been released by the US Department of Defense will usually be diaried two days after the official announcement on the DoD website. This allows the IGTNT team to cover each person more fully, but still in a timely manner.
Thank you to True Blue Majority for her help with a transcript which helped with this diary.
Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.