This past Tuesday we officially named the local post office in honor of our son Micheal. It was a good day.. Rep. Tom Cole had very nice things to say about Micheal and our family. A few tears were shed and a lot of smiles. We were able to send out 30 care packages to honor the day. One Micheal’s combat brothers, “Doc” Strong drove down from Kansas and was there with us. It was good to see him and share this event with him. I just wish he could have stayed longer .
The whole point of naming the post office was to remind others that yes we can put his name on highways, buildings and memorials but we truly honor our Fallen by taking care of those still serving and those who come home, especially our wounded.
So the plaque is hung…the community will read his name. And maybe just maybe others will remember to honor Micheal by sending to those in harms way.
There was really only one glitch in the whole day. As we were cleaning up and preparing to leave one of the ladies there asked me “where was he hit?” I responded “In Shulla Iraq” I knew what she was asking but as I stared at her in disbelief that she would ask this question my mind went through the many possible responses and that was the safest one. I had hoped she would leave it there as I obviously did not want to describe how my son had died to a stranger. But she pushed it.. even as the woman next to her tried to stop her. So I gave the “official” answer. “He was driving the second vehicle of the convey when the driver’s side door was hit by an EFP”. Although for a split second I did consider going into graphic detail. Then I turned and walked away.
This incident has haunted me since. I should have told her not to ask me or other families of the Fallen how our loved one died but to instead ask us how they lived. How our sons and daughters lived is much more important to know than how they died.
Micheal spent his life making people smile. He protected those weaker than him. He gave to those who had a need. He worked hard and he was always willing to pitch in and help when it was needed. He understood the value of those things we cannot see such as humanity, honor, love, and freedom. He fought to protect those things and give them to others.
Micheal’s death is a moment of his story but it is not his story. His story is the answer to “Tell me how he lived”