Monday, May 25, 2009

A Special Memorial Day Tribute

In the past couple years, our tiny community has lost two young soldiers from the same high school. Memorial Day is certainly a day to remember all those lost, but of course we always remember those close to us with a little bit more emotion.

On April 7th 2004, my father called me to tell me that my friend's mother had called him that morning to let us know that her son, Matt, had been marked MIA in Iraq. I moved into the house next to the Maupins when I was 2 years old. I got my first pet, Goldie the cat, from them. We went swimming, played on the swingset, and did general neighborly kid things together. Matt became the official grass cutter at my house as he got a bit older, and caught Goldie two or three times when he had snuck out of the house. I lived there until I was 13. So it was quite the shock to hear that your 11 year playmate had suddenly vanished. I'm sure you know who I'm talking about, as it's not as if it were a quiet story. They found his remains last year, four years after he was originally MIA and then quickly switched to POW.

Matt's senior picture:

His funeral:

During those four years our county banded together like you've never seen. We became The Yellow Ribbon Capital of the world. Officially. So much yellow everywhere--it was really amazing.

But this year we were hit with another loss. Tony Wojciechowski (mostly known as Wojo around here) from the same high school.

We have had other losses in our city, but these were the only two from the east side of our metropolitan area and they were both ours.

So thank you, Matt and Tony. And thank you to all others who have sacrificed their lives, and who we remember today and all days.

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