Sorry I have been completely MIA lately, I’ve been having a hard time dealing with my buddy’s brother’s death in Operation Enduring Freedom, which is in Afghanistan. SSGT Eric Christian was a Special Ops Marine who had embedded Afghani Army soldiers they were training. Unfortunately, on 04 May, one of these soldiers turned around and shot him as well as a Corporal before being killed himself by the Marines.
His funeral was on Tuesday, and since I was already in the area visiting a friend, I HAD to attend the funeral. SSGT Christian had a funeral with full military honours, which is something that is truly beautiful yet incredibly painful. It was also at Arlington National Cemetery, which is a very moving and somber place to be, and is an honour to be laid to rest there.
The funeral affected me more than I could have ever anticipated. I saw the announcement of his death on the USMC official Facebook page even before I knew it was my Marine buddy’s brother. I usually don’t comment on it, but this time I felt this compulsion to write a comment. I put “RIP Devildog.” A few hours later I received the call of my buddy and made the connection. I just couldn’t believe it. Ever since then I had been in a fog, not caring about anything – not school, not PTing like I was supposed to, and also not this blog. Doing anything was a challenge.
Since I was in Maryland visiting a friend anyway, I felt like it was whatever is up there’s way of fate, telling me I needed and should go. My friend was incredibly gracious enough to let me stay the two extra days, and even came with me, which now looking back I could not have done alone.
A military funeral with full honours is just amazing. It really gets to you, right in your heart, right in your soul. I was having some panic attacks even days before, and on the way to Arlington I was wringing my hands so much I’m surprised I have skin left. The funeral lasted an hour, and there was a reception afterwards at the hotel my buddy Mark (his brother) was staying in, so I made the trip to go and see him. It was tough, but I did it. As soon as he saw me, he gave me a big bear hug and we talked for a while. I left there feeling such a goodness in my soul knowing I could be there, and felt it was fate that led me there. A perfect storm, if you will. It was really nice to see Mark, offer my condolences, and catch up.
Today is Memorial Day. Please keep SSGT Eric Christian and his sacrifice in your thoughts today. This is NOT national BBQ day – take it from a Marine. This morning, President Obama made a special speech, and mentioned SSGT Christian. I took a video which is below. Please excuse my bit o’ weeping, I couldn’t help it.
Please do your soul a favour, remember why Memorial Day is what it is and please donate to the SSGT Eric Christian Scholarship Fund. It doesn’t matter if it is even $5 or $10, anything helps.
I will be back soon. Thank you and remember the fallen this Memorial Day.