Friday, August 02, 2013

Gold Star mom Debbie Lee remembers Navy son on the anniversary of his death in Iraq

I had the privilege of meeting Debbie Lee a few years ago. She was personable, friendly, and outgoing. I met her, however, knowing the weight she carried, and I thanked her for her sacrifice. Today is the anniversary of her son's death in 2006 in Iraq, and here is her remembrance.
Today is August 2nd. This day will never be the same for me. For most people it's just another sunny summer day filled with normal routines, but for me it will always be "that day." Aug 2nd, 2006 is a day that forever changed my life.

It was another sunny day in Arizona 7 years ago, but across the world in Ramadi, Iraq it was a different story. I couldn't even tell you what I did that day but that evening I was at my small group and we were celebrating my birthday which had been the week before.

Within 30 minutes life would change from cake, ice cream and receiving a gift of a Willow Tree Angel named "Courage" to using that courage to survive the most devastating moments of my life.

I arrived home to find my son Kristofer waiting on the sidewalk to inform me the Navy was there. I glanced at the two Navy Officers in their dress whites on my porch and fell into Kristofer's arms and cried "Noooooooooooo!" I knew why they were there.

We entered the house and they tried to prepare me for what they were about to tell me. They had been in my home for about 30 minutes while Kris tried to find me.

"We can tell by being in your home you are a woman of faith and you are going to need to rely on your faith for what we are about to tell you. Your son Marc Alan Lee has been killed in Action." I couldn't breathe; I felt a pain in the core of my being that no parent should ever have to feel. I began to cry my river.

It's hard to believe it has been 7 years since that young man sacrificed his life defending his teammates, and our freedoms.

I still can't comprehend how you can fight in an intense fire fight for two hours, in extreme temperatures of 120 degrees, carrying 150-180 lbs. and still have the mental focus and strength to make the decision to do the right thing and risk your life for others.  Courage like Marc displayed doesn't just happen. It is engrained in you by your creator, it is the choice to follow the Biblical morals and values taught to you, it is the opportunity to practice in other difficult circumstances that life brings you or your BUD's instructors produce. Marc displayed physical and moral courage often witnessed on the battlefield, but courage need not be displayed only in the battlefields of combat as we fight and defend America and the freedoms we have been blessed with.

Our American History is rich in examples of patriots who displayed courage in numerous circumstances, willing to give everything if need be for what they believed in, to provide liberty and a better life to those they left behind.

There is a huge hole that is left from his absence. I will never share the dinner table with him, or feel his arms hug me in the way only a Mother and Son can hug, or see his smirky grin, beautiful brown eyes, dark curly locks, or experience his playful antics or hear his encouraging words. I won't get that dance at his wedding, or hold his children and watch them grow, or have him hold me or care for me when I get old.

Yet, there are so many blessings in the midst of this deep loss. Marc's sacrifice and his last letter home have inspired millions of people around the world. That young man is perhaps more alive in his spirit, that is still here, than he was in life.

I had no choice in the news the was delivered to me on Aug 2nd, but I did have a choice how I responded. God made it very clear to me that night as I read Psalms 27 that He was right there with me, He was my rock and my strength. "I would have lost hope if I had not believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. What on the Lord, be of good courage and he will strengthen your heart; wait I say on the Lord." Psalms 27:15 & 16
I had seen God do amazing things in my life and I had confidence in Him that He would carry me through and be my strength. I chose to proceed through the grieving process and encourage and help others with the hope God gives me daily.

Accepting Marc's last challenge in his glory letter, and
by God's strength I have dedicated my life to supporting
and honoring our troops and the families they left behind.

Marc's name means Mighty Warrior and today I remember him and as I do every day honor his courage and sacrifice. He left behind his weapon, his armor and his boots and laid down his baton which I picked up and carry on. To everyone who served and sacrificed for my freedoms and yours, I say "THANK YOU."

Marc's final gift to me was his teammates and I am blessed to have so many "adopted boys" and share their families and their love. God multiplied my family exponentially and I am a blessed woman.

So as you enjoy your sunny Aug 2nd and live your normal life and watch your children and grandchildren play today give them an extra hug, count your blessings, and remember our fallen warriors who sacrificed all of their tomorrows and hope for a future so you could enjoy today.

Remembering my son, my hero, my mighty warrior!

Debbie Lee
Gold Star Mother of Marc Alan Lee
Spokesperson and Military Liason
Move America Forward

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