One usually thinks of Roll Call in light of taking attendance...seeing who is present and who is absent. But after attending the funeral of one of our Marines and hearing Roll Call with that one absent, I will never think of Roll Call in the same way. It began well enough, with each person present answering to their name...then, "Major J'' again, louder "Major J" and a third time yelling "Major J"...who would never answer another Roll Call here. It was a hard thing to experience. And something I would be reminded of at other times.
July 18th, 2006 we visited Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. I had made contact with Lt Col O and he set up for us to visit with the Marines there.
At 07:30 we met the Marines at their barracks for formation. Ed was given the opportunity to speak to the group and give each one a book and visit with them infividually. After that we went over to the hospital. Lt Col O wanted us to meet the family of a young Marine who was in ICU. The family was not in the waiting room or the ICU. When Lt Col O went into the ICU Cpl B was awake and said he'd like to have us come in to visit so we were allowed to see him.
We visited a short while. Ed gave him one of his books and a card that some of our local Marine Mom's had signed and sent with us to pass out. An aide read the card to Cpl B. and that brought a smile to his handsome young face. His injuries were very serious: he had lost his left arm and leg and had serious injuries to his entire left side.
When we returned in September and met with our Marines for formation we learned that Cpl B had just passed away. I wanted to cry...my eyes met Ed's and I turned away quickly to wipe away the tears. I felt I must be strong but it was not easy. Now his is one of the names I say to myself when listening to our National Anthem...he paid the highest price along with so many others to keep our nation free. I will never forget him.