Had a busy few days...including some long hours of babysitting for some family friends. Can't get much done with little ones around. I will try to get the rest of my blogs about the MWSA conference done this next week as we are leaving on the 3rd of November for Veterans Week in Branson...and will have more to write about that when we return.
On Saturday night after the banquet we gathered to watch a documentary film the was brought to the conference by Richard Lowry who was one of the recipients of an award. His book Marines in the Garden of Eden won a silver medal for history. It is the story of the battle for An Nasiriyah. AND is now in my stack of "books to read"...I need about 48 hours in a day in order to catch up on the reading I want to do.
I knew the film we were going to view was about the battle for Fallujah and as I entered the room I nervously took a seat. The story began in late 2004...all I could think of was one date that kept screaming in my mind...November 9th, 2004.
Perfect Valor details some of what it took for our Marines to win the battle for Fallujah. While it concerned a different group of Marines than those that I was writing to in 2004....the experiences had to be the same. It was the same time, the same place. I started writing to a LCPL Tyler Farmer because I had gotten to know his mother. Marty in an online chat room on Classmates. I started writing to Tyler in June of 2004 and wrote to him on each tour until February of 2006. He served with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines Kilo Company.
In August of '04 I got an email from Tyler's mother with the address of a Marine who could use some more mail: LCPL Steve Segura. I began writing to him...over the course of the next few months I wrote 7 letters.
In the middle of September I received a lovely card from Steve...he wrote:
"I want to thank you so much for writing me and I enjoy reading every letter. A little about myself. My name is Steve. I'm 26. I have 1 older sister, 1 older brother, 4 younger brothers, 4 nephews, 3 nieces, no kids of my own. It means a lot that you wrote to me. I hope to keep hearing from you. Oh yes, I'm from Homestead, Florida. I get out of the Marine Corps on Jan 16. I have a lot of plans after the Marine Corps. When I get my pictures back I'll send you some. Write me again soon please.
Love always your friend, Steve"
The last letter that I sent to him was dated October 22, 2004. I am sure he received that one as it was never returned to me....as mail is when a Marine is injured or killed.
I will never forget the day when I was sitting at my computer going through my email...Marty had sent an email...she had just heard from Tyler...Several of his friends had been injured and Steve had been killed on November 9th, 2004...
I remember loudly saying "Oh NO...NO...NO! And soon Eddie was in the room next to me asking what was wrong. I told him and he held me while I cried for this young Marine who had paid the ultimate price.
All through the film I kept thinking about Steve...and some tears fell but I managed to watch the entire film. It is well done...and gives credit to those who are there fighting this war. And it causes one to reflect on the cost of war...and remember that we still have troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to NEVER forget that while we go through our regular days...they are in harms way fighting...fighting terrorism to keep us safe.
Thanks for bringing the film Richard...even though some memories are hard...it is good...I will carry the memory of a young Marine named Steve Segura and WILL NOT FORGET him...and many others.