My Hero Story...
There are several military and fire service heroes I have, but I would like to talk about my brother James specifically. My brother and I shared the same father who was a firefighter. Our dad passed away in the line of duty in a structural fire in 1998. After our dad passed we were seperated and sent to our different mothers in different states. I was ten years old and my brother was 14 at the time. Most 14 year old boys would not care to be seen with their little sisters, but James was different. As long as I can remember he always made time for me and did whatever he could to make me laugh. After our dad passed away and we were seperated he still continued to be the perfect brother. He always tried to carry the pain of our fathers death for the both of us. He would call me everyday, write me letters often and never missed holiday visits. As we grew older and older into teenagers he continued to do everything he could for me. When my brother turned 18 he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He surpassed most of his fellow Marines in almost every aspect. He had quickly moved up the ranks during his service until he became a 'Gunny.' When the war in Iraq was at the top of everyone's minds, him and his team were attacked in their vehicles. I have never known the complete details of how that day went down, but what I do know is my brother suffered from a severe wound to his stomach and still helped his team until he made the ultimate sacrifice. I have been told from his brothers in service that he helped drag an injured team member who could not walk due to a leg injury out of firing range and to a safe spot. After that he continued to use his weapon from the ground along side his team until he passed away. Our family was presented with several medals on his behalf, including a Silver Star. My brother has been viewed as a hero to a lot of people, but it will always be such a deeper respect and emotion from me. As a child he stood up for what was right and always made sure I was okay every single day. As a young teenager he took on the responsibility of holding our tragedy for the both of us while all the while continuing to make sure I would at least smile everyday even when smiling was the last thing on my mind. As a young man he not only stood for me as an American and a loving human being, but for countless others as well. He decided to give his life to something bigger than a lot of us could imagine. He went to war to ensure all of our safety and to protect our freedoms that we take for granted so often, all the while never complaining about anything. And as a perfect brother, amazing son, wonderful Marine and so many other things, he made a decision to give his life to save the lives of others. I imagine my brother knew how all of that day was going to end once they were attacked and in that moment he did not get scared and not know what to do. He stayed true to everything he had ever been and helped his fellow brothers survive. As much as it hurts losing my brother and father, I am so grateful that they both had hugely amazing hearts to sacrifice their lives so others could live. No matter the amount of pain and sadness I will always feel, I will always support and truly love our military members, fire service members, emergency service members and so forth. Before I end this e-mail I would like to share something I heard a while back that makes me think of my brother, father, and everyone else who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
' The human life is made up of choices. Yes or no, in or out, up or down. And then there are the choices that matter... To love or hate, to be a hero or to be a coward, to fight or to give in, to live for yourself or die for others. Live for yourself or die for others, hero or coward, fight or give in. I'll say it again to make sure you hear me, the human life is made up of choices. Live for yourself or die for others. That's the ultimate choice. '
In this e-mail I am also including picture attachments of my father, my brother and myself. I know this is a contest for a free t-shirt, but to be truthful I don't really care if I recieve a shirt or not. I am sharing this e-mail so others who do not know this pain can try to get an understanding and for the ones who do know this pain, they can know they are not alone in their struggles of loss.
Thank you so much for all you do Hero Bracelets. You help remind us to not take so much for granted and that there are those out there who have and will go to any length to protect their fellow Americans.
(Christian, we've got a HeroBracelets t-shirt on it's way to yo