On Sunday, July 1, 2012 I attended church just as I always do. This Sunday was the Sunday before the 4th of July, America's Independence Day. As I listened to "America The Beautiful" being sung by the congregation, my thoughts turned to my brother, Steven. He is my hero.
Steven always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face. As a child, he was a bit bull headed and stubborn but he also could be such a sweet kid! When he graduated from high school he decided to join the Army. Entering as an enlisted, he moved up through the ranks through hard work and determination. He served in the Army for almost twenty years in various positions; a Ranger, a helicopter pilot and Warrent Officer 3 in the Delta Force, Company B. A combat veteran, Steven was deployed 12 times, including 10 to Iraq and two to Afghanistan.
Steven stayed at my home on his way to visit my folks periodically. Two years ago he stopped by for a few days. One morning as I was fixing breakfast my teenage daughter ran downstairs and exclaimed, "Uncle Steven just did 100 push-ups in a minute and didn't even break a sweat!" He has always been in excellent shape. "He served his nation for more than 19 years and spent 10 of those doing what he particularly loved to do - flying with fellow Night Stalkers and supporting Special Operations forces. There is no question that Steve believed in what he was doing. He never doubted why he was there."
Last August he was killed in a routine training exercise. Tears ran down my face as I listened to the words of the song "Oh, beautiful for heros proved in liberating strife, Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!" He always had such great love and respect for this nation and the ideals it was founded on. My heart swells with gratitude for all those who keep us safe. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I stand a little taller when I see a flag waving in the breeze, hear a patriotic song or see a soldier and think of Steven- my brother, my hero.
Kathy, your story says it all! We can all stand a little taller as we see the flag waving in the breeze and try to realize the price of freedom. Your brother is indeed a hero, as are all those who fight for freedom and the principles they love! Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts!
I got chill bumps as I read the last part when you heard the poignant words to the song, "Oh Beautiful"! Thank you for sharing this heartfelt true story, it rips at your core and makes us aware of our mortality. Thank you to all the soldiers, men and women who keep us free and safe each and every day!
Thank you to David, for the beautiful card he created for Tom.
AlthoughI had read this story before, Tom Cormier invited us to read it again. It was a wise decision. The story and your follow-up actions are lasting tributes to your brother. He was my kind of guy.
Your story brought tears to my eyes, Kathy. Your brother was a remarkable man and your tribute will stand as a reminder of the sacrifices our soldiers make. Thank you so much for sharing his story with us.