Remembering a Hero.
As I sit at my keyboard reflecting on tomorrow's date Aug 2nd I am drawn to so many memories and emotions. It seems as though it was just yesterday when I received the knock on the door that would forever change my life. I would be informed of the heroic actions of my son Marc Alan Lee who willingly gave his life so that others could live. He stood out in the direct line of fire 3 times that day so that his teammates could survive. He showed the depth of his love and gave the greatest gift that any human being could give, the exchange of his life for another. John 15:13 talks of that very thing, "Greater love has no one than this that he laid down his life for his friends."
It's been 4 years since Marc made that sacrifice for his buddies, for you, for me, for this country that he so loved. I still miss him so deeply! There is still such a void in my heart that cannot be explained. That was the part of my heart that I shared with Marc for 28 years and still do today. He may be physically gone from this place but lives continue to be changed by this young man when they hear his amazing story or read his last letter home that we call his "Glory letter." That part of my heart continues to grow with love and memories of Marc as I am blessed to hear from people, and watch their expressions as they hear Marc's story, read his last letter home, and understand who this brave warrior was and the sacrifice he made for them.
As a mother the personal story I share is about my son, Marc whose name means "Mighty Warrior." It's about his life, his sacrifice, his childhood, his personality, and quirks, but I write this in memory of every one of America's mighty warriors and their Gold Star family who have also given the ultimate sacrifice.
I receive the DOD casualty reports from the Pentagon daily. My heart grieves for every one of these families and I pray by name for the families of the fallen when I receive the notification. The casualties have been heavy and almost daily in Afghanistan and odds are that tomorrow someone else will be notified of their loved ones sacrifice and I will share that anniversary date with another Gold Star family. So many parents, spouses, siblings, and children know the depth of that pain, and my heart, condolences and love go out to them.
While dealing with Marc's death has been the most difficult thing I have been through it has also provided the deepest emotional and most rewarding time of my life. I can't even begin to tell you the places I've been , the people I've met, the people I've been able to encourage and those who have been there to encourage me and the opportunities I have had to thank our troops.
I'm sure that every morning in Heaven there is a briefing between God and Marc to determine where they will put me for that day, whose path I will cross, and how our lives will be used to encourage one another.
I just recently returned from my second trip to Iraq. I was able to see firsthand the changes that have been made there. We have turned over the majority of the bases in the International Zone to the Iraqis and they are successfully managing them. We are helping the Iraqi Air force rebuild and educate pilots. I was able to get an exclusive interview with Gen Anwar who is in charge of the Iraqi Air force. He shared on behalf of the Iraqi people the depth of the gratitude that their people feel for the sacrifices we have made. He looked me in the eye and told me with deep sincere emotion that "We will never forget the sacrifice that has been made. American blood has been poured on our soil and we will never forget, we will tell our children for generations to come of the sacrifice Americas has paid to secure our freedoms.
After I heard that I was reminded of what Marc said in his last letter home, "It will take longer than most think but we will get Iraq to stand on its own feet. He was right again, wise beyond his years.
Marc also wrote about witnessing "the morals of a man who care nothing of human life." He was referring to Sadam. I also witnessed that on my recent trip to Baghdad. I saw extravagance in the multitude of palaces that Sadam had built for himself. He built a private zoo for his sons, most parents by a dog or a cat, but no an entire zoo. He rerouted the Euphrates river for three days leaving his country in drought and with no water so that he could fill the palatial palace grounds with lakes around them believing that Allah could not see through the water so he could commit his vile actions of rape, murder, orgies and death. There are mass graves with thousands of people in each one. Talk about a weapon of mass destruction, Sadam was one.
We saw Disneyland playgrounds designed for his grandchildren to appease them after murdering their Father's. Marc's letter came to life as I was able to see through his eyes and witness firsthand what he was talking about. I spoke with so many of our troops and heard the success stories of what is taking place in Iraq. I also shared the love and gratitude from all of you back home to our troops for their sacrifices.
I was so grateful when my feet were back on American soil as Marc said "Our country is a great country," and it's the sacrifice of so many who have made it that way.
Marc's last letter ended with "PS: Halfway through the deployment can't wait to see your smiling faces." He successfully finished the first half of his deployment here on earth and he has been redeployed to Heaven to complete the final part and yes I will one day see his smiling face. Oh I can't wait to see that big grin when Christ calls me home and Marc is waiting at Heaven's gate to show me the exciting places and unique creations. Until then you and I are only halfway through the deployment. We have a choice to give up, curl up on the floor in our pain and struggles or we can pick up the torch that our loved ones have passed to us.
Giving up has never been an option for me and by God's strength I will continue to march forward. I can carry on and be that voice that Marc gave up that day. I can honor our men and women in the military, their families and especially the families of the fallen. I can encourage others to remember the sacrifices our military makes and make sure they and their families are taken care of. I can remember the sacrifices of our Gold Star families and love support, and honor them and their fallen hero. I can stand for our constitution and the freedoms that so many men and women have sacrificed so much for. I can hold our elected officials accountable to do the same and vote out the ones who don't. I can awaken every morning and thank God for the new day I have been given and use it to make a difference.
So today on Aug 2nd join with me in remembering my mighty warrior, Marc Alan Lee by reading his glory letter www.americasmightywarriors.org Thank God for all of America's Mighty Warriors who serve and give so much for our freedoms and pray for their families. Do a random act of kindness today in Marc's memory.
I've given my very best for this country, my son. Please join with me and pick up that torch and your flag, to honor our troops, their families and the families of the fallen and to fight here at home for our constitutional rights and freedoms.
Remembering A hero,