'They Gave the Phenomenal Gift of Their Lives'
The mother of a Marine killed in action says we must honor the memory of fallen soldiers by finishing the war.
BY: Interview by Dena Ross
We have so many freedoms that we take for granted in this country that men through the ages have fought for so that we can wake up everyday and [not] have to worry that a car is going to be parked out in front of a school that's going to be blown up. Terrorism is leaking from the countries that aren't as fortunate as our own country. It's hit here, it's hit London, and to cave to that, we lose. Everybody loses. And we've given into something that is the amount of a small child stamping their feet and insisting that it's OK to have an ice cream cone before supper. By leaving and not completing it, we dishonor those who have gone before, who gave the ultimate price. You have to support those who are still fighting too.
We have a lot of privileges and with the privileges in this country comes responsibility-the responsibility to help those who aren't able to help themselves is a commitment that you have to make and follow through with. You have to do more than lip service. Would it be nice if we didn't have to have the war? Yes. We're there-we have to finish it.
Cindy Sheehan, the mother of the army specialist killed in Iraq, has very publicly expressed her anger at President Bush's refusal to meet with her and to withdraw troops. What are your thoughts on what she's doing?
My heart bleeds for her, just as it does for any of us who have lost a child. She's doing what she believes is correct and she is going about it in a method that she feels is the best way. I feel like her son and my son fought for the freedoms that we still continue to have that allow her to be able to voice her opinion in the manner that she is doing.
If you could talk to her, what would you say?
I would tell her that our boys signed up on their own free will [and] that they knew that the possibility of danger was there even though, for my own son, it didn't look like it was going to be there. They both chose to follow through with their commitment. They chose careers that are very honorable and under-respected in some cases. We send our boys and girls to the military and they get phenomenal training and they go to war. War is ugly. We're going to lose, whether you're on the winning side or the losing side, everybody loses something. And we happen to pay the highest price-we've lost our children. [I'd tell her that] to grieve is normal, and everybody grieves differently. I can't really say that what's right for her and what's right for me are two of the same, or that I'm right and she's wrong. But to dishonor or to make light or get angry with the fact that our boys went to war and they lost their lives takes away from the fact that they gave the phenomenal gift of their lives so that others can be free.
For Jason, three other men are still alive and raising families and continuing with their lives. Whether they do something that is in God's plan that is phenomenal or they will be the grandparents of people who are going to do something for this world that is great-that's my belief. Jason's destiny was met, and he gave this gift to the three that are still alive. To say anything less than that would take away from that gift.
We really need to be so careful that we remember to honor the commitment and the sacrifices that our boys gave and not take away from it.
How can we honor those still fighting?
I think the best way that we can honor those who are still fighting is to support our troops-you don't need to support everything, but you need to support the men and women who chose to give us this freedom and to help others have freedom, that are following through on the jobs that they chose-and they do consider it a job. If you know of somebody still fighting, send them cards, send them letters, care packages, whatever. If you know of a family who has lost a person or who has a person who is still serving, just give them support-whether it's a card now and then, or a hug or whatever you can do just to let them know that you are there and that you care. We need not to be so negative. We need to be more supportive of those that chose to be there.