Monday, May 25, 2015

They Called It River City: A Memorial Day Tribute

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day off for me, a civilian, but my mind is occupied. I am remembering what it’s like to have a service member overseas in a war zone: the fear, the honor, the pride, the prayers. I remember calls at 3 am, afraid to answer the phone. Would it be my brother on the other end, serving in a far away time zone? Please, please let it be that. I remember well those days, those weeks, those months.

But this post isn’t about me. It’s about my brother, Michael, who served with the Marine Corps in Iraq. He had a hard service. He was assigned to a reconnaissance mission, not to a base. He slept in tents; he ate MREs; he patrolled in towns; he helped rebuild schools. He befriended Iraqi children. And he lost his friends. War is ugly but I am blessed with a brother who has a beautiful soul and a deep devotion to those he loves. This is the kind of men and women serving our country today.

Today on Facebook, my brother wrote the following remembrance of his time in service. I asked him if I could post it on my blog and he said I could.

They called it "River City."

I can't remember your name but I remember being at your funeral. You were killed by an IED in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. You were a NC native and still a young man.

I'll never forget your 8 younger siblings coming up to the microphone to say goodbye to their big brother. My eyes were filled with tears the entire time and my blues had spots where my tears had fallen and collected. The church was filled with people to honor you. We all cried during this time. Every man and every woman there.  I didn't know you personally but we were brothers by the uniform we both wore.

You gave the ultimate sacrifice, not only for our freedom here but also freedom for the people in Iraq. I will never forget.

They called it River City, code name for an American killed in action. I can't remember the date but I remember seeing the helicopter fly into Al Quiam as I was walking back from the PX getting snacks and actually seeing multiple KIAs lying on the floor inside the helicopter. I couldn't believe my eyes. I stopped, my heart stopped and I stood there. I slowly saluted as tears ran down my face. I will never forget.

I can't remember the date but we were in our humvee in Iraq and we heard and felt this ungodly loud explosion. My heart stopped. We looked at each other, afraid to know what had happened. We later we found out an AAV ran over an IED killing 14 Marines inside. That night I prayed and cried for those Marines killed. I will never forget.

I can't remember the date but you had two weeks left before going home to American soil. Marines had multiple casualties and were in a fire fight and they needed help and you were part of QRF in response. You went to go help them but the 7-ton vehicle overturned and you were killed. I will never forget.

These are just a few that I'll always remember on Memorial Day Weekend. Our American heroes. I will never forget. 


  1. Such an amazing tribute to our armed forces, whether they be family, friends or those we don't even know. Thank you for your service, Michael!

  2. Such a beautiful tribute ... God bless your brother and prayers and love for the brothers he lost ....


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