Friday, May 26, 2006

A Father's Letter

I received this e-mail from a soldiers father and thought that it would be appropriate to post it this Memorial Day weekend as a reminder of the sacrifice paid by the few for the many. I hope that you don't mind Mr. Stokely.
Dear friends in the MilBlog World:

By now, it would be understandable if you and others were tired or hearing from me and what I say. But, I feel a need to talk about my experiences. It makes me feel better to not hold it in. It also is my hope that others can find something in what I say that makes them feel better, cope, or just think of things said from a perspective I now hold.

This weekend is a very traditional time in modern day American culture - it is Memorial Day Weekend whose premise is on remembering those who fell on the field of battle for the cause of freedom and in the service of our great country. Realistically, it is a three day weekend that signals the start of summer fun for friends and family alike. To be very honest with you, I can't claim to have placed the proper focus on this important weekend in so many years in the past. But, this year I have a new perspective, to say the least.

Sadly, it probably took my son Mike dying in Iraq to make this holiday a time to truly focus on what Memorial Day means. No doubt, I'd rather be remembering "someone else's" fallen soldier. But, I also recognize that the lineage of fallen soldiers is one of privilege for the fallen's family members. No soldier wills to die in battle, nor does a family hope such privilege is accorded them. But, as the dad of a fallen soldier, I can say that I recognize such privilege is given me and our family for who else would it be given if we chose not to accept it? SGT Mike Stokely is an example of a life lived well, boldly committed and bravely given. He believed in God, Family, Duty, Honor, Country. He left nothing in reserve when it came to any of those life character traits. How little it is for me and his family to show our love for him, to honor him, and serve in comfort and safety by simply accepting the privilege of service we have been given by his death in Iraq.

Thank you soldiers generations past and present for your sacrifice and giving us reason to have a Memorial Day.

I never got to tell Mike thank you, so I'll say it now - Thank you son for your life, a life well lived, boldly committed, and bravely given. You made a difference, you died for a just cause, you will be remembered, and you are forever loved. John 15:13 - No greater love...

Thank you God for the privilege of being Mike Stokely's dad.

God Bless America and those whose time of privileged committment is yet to come. The Stokely Family stands ready to serve with you.

Robert Stokely
proud dad
SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 8/16/05 Yusufiyah Iraq
E Troop 108th CAV 48th Brigade GA NATL GUARD US ARMY

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