Aaron Williams - My hero!
As I sit here on my great-grandma's couch in her sun room in the heart of Michigan I'm thinking about how blessed I am that I live in America, the "Land of the free and home of the brave." I was SO blessed to be born in the United States, a privilege that billions of people do not have. The only reason, besides God, that I'm living in the freest country in the world is because of the brave men and women throughout the centuries who have stood for freedom, and truly believed in their country and everything she stands for and were and are willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING so that I, as an American, can sit in comfort, sipping coffee, and writing this post. These are the truest Americans, the ones of whom we should be VERY proud. My grandfather served in the Army in World War II, along with his brothers. My dad was in the Coast Guard for seven years in the late 70s and early 80s. I have other family who were in various branches of the military, all doing their best to serve and protect and defend the country that they love.
I also have friends who were and are currently defending my country. I'm thinking of one in particular who is in Iraq right now as I write, before that he was in Afghanistan. Ray is young, only 20 or 21, why in the world is he willing to his life on the line? While Ray was in Afghanistan, his father, Raymond, a Lieutenant Colonel (I think) was in Iraq. Their family sacrificed a LOT!
I have other friends who have also been in the Mid-East, Seth in the Navy, and Paul and Steve in the National Guard. Paul and Steve had families back home, yet they were willing to go to a foreign land and fight an enemy that they may not have heard of before September 11, 2001.
One soldier that I didn't know, David Fribley, a graduate of Warsaw High School in 1996. He was content with his job until the terrorist attacks of September 11, it was then that he decided to join the Marines so that he could fight for his country!
On March 23, 2003 David was killed in Iraq, only three days after the conflict began. He was the first soldier from Indiana to die, and one of the first to die in the nation.
There were hundreds of people at his funeral, and even more who lined the road on the way to the cemetery. Some of Warsaw's biggest corporations stopped operation in honor of David and the employees lined the streets. The schools bused students to the funeral procession route, and all were waving flags, and most were weeping. We were all sad, yes, but VERY proud.
In a letter to one of his friends David wrote:
“The greatest gift one can give to another is the gift of service. I do not know who said this but I’ve heard this saying before. The following is my gift to you; may I honor you and our fellow countrymen and women. I will earn the privilege to wear Eagle, Globe and Anchor for all those that cannot. With all the strength of my fellow Marines, we shall always provide you with the comforting feeling of safety that you have each day.”
I simply want to say a great big THANK YOU! to the men and women in the United States military! They are the ones who give us hope in these time!