Dear Michael


Hi Mike.

I didn’t get a chance to write to you in Kuwait. You died before your address was able to get back to all of us. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to write to you before you died. I would have enjoyed reading your colorful account of your time in Kuwait.

I would have told you how much we miss you and pray for your safe return. I would have loved to see some more pictures of you in your camis beside those goofy camals. But I liked the picture of you beside your humvee best.

I would have told you how much your mom misses you and that she didn’t know it but we were all keeping watch over her for you. She visits your girls almost every day. They missed you and were doing ok considering you were gone. The baby kept sayng “Daddy” all the time. Amanda talked to you at night. She still does. C. and E. had the hardest time.

C. was upset for being mad at you because you didn’t come home. She kept saying you “lied to her and promised to come back home ok!” But she started writing letters to you and her mom takes her to your grave to place them there.

But the girls are seeing someone now. D., at the police department, lets her call him whan she needs to talk. They have become good friends.

I also would have told you that you Gram was doing as well as could be expected. You know how she is. She would not rest peacefully until you are safely home again. R. and D. kept close tabs on her too.

Gram especially missed you in the mornings. She missed your daily coffee stops and chats. We all missed the stories she used to tell us about your encounters with the “criminal world.” My favorite all time story was the one you told her about the guy that you persued, while giving him a continual run down on how tired you were getting.

You kept up such a silly dialog that the suspect stopped to catch his breath because you had him laughing so hard. But funniest of all was him telling the judge you didn’t “play fair” because you had him laughing so hard he couldn’t keep running because he couldn’t breathe.

But that was so much like you. You always had great respect for others. Even as a police officer, you showed the people you arrested such dignity.

We all had a difficult time this past March 5, 2005. It doesn’t seem like you have been gone that long. We all have missed you so very much. I am just so sorry none of us, especially your mom could be with you as you left this world and moved on into the next.

We weren’t even allowed to meet you at Dover and ride back to Richmond with you so you wouldn’t have to make that journey alone too. The Navy told us we couldn’t. But we did all gather at a gas station on the other side of town off Rt. 95 in Ashland along with the honor guard made up of the officers you worked with at the police department. We met the Navy escort and your white hearse there and escorted you the rest of the way home.

It was a solemn event Mike. But, it was very dignified. I was amazed at all the people who participated. It was our way of paying you our respect and showing you how much we loved you.

We were all determined you wouldn’t make that trip alone too!! At the funeral home the Navy and Police department assigned a 24 hour honor guard so you would not be there alone. Good thing too because your mom and gram would not have let you lay there alone in that cold place. None of us would have! The Navy told us we couldn’t open the casket. But we had an open casket anyway.

You mom and wife weren’t going to allow the Navy to take away their final goodbye. None of us could ever have accepted that you were gone until we saw for certain it was really you inside that cold looking casket!! They put your police officers uniform on you because your mom, gram and your wife couldn’t bear to see you in your Navy uniform. To them it represented those who took you away from us. But you were a police officer for a very long time. You were a Navy man for such a short time. It only seemed fitting.

Your funeral was beautiful. Over a thousand family members, police officers, friends, and military people came. So many came that the funeral had to be held at a larger Church. It was conducted with full military honors. There was a huge American Flag at the entrance to the Church parking lot held up by a crane. All the local press was there. At the cemetary they played taps They gave your wife a flag. But, they didn’t give her your Purple Heart.

Can you believe that? I wrote to Senator Warner for his help. He sent me a letter back with a copy of a letter from the DoD. Their letter said you weren’t entitled to the Purple Heart because of the guidelines. They also said your death was an accident. Right??

Since when do Iraqi terrorists accidently ram a vehicle from behind at 100 mph with their lights out. I’m ashamed to say I am glad one of the bastards died. The other in still alive in a Kuwaiti jail!

But I want you to know, I’m going to do everything possible to get you your Purple Heart! I have a petition set up. I am gathering signatures to amend the Purple Heart Guidelines. Can you believe the Guidelines DON’T COVER the terrorists acts that are being used to kill our troops? I know, Mike, the Purple Heart won’t bring you back. But you earned that medal. So have many others. If I am successful, you will get your medal. One day your kids will hold it in their hands and say, “This was my dads. He died a hero in the War on Terror!”

Well, God bless you Michael. I’ll keep you updated. I can still see this little redheaded boy with his huge smile reading the comics. I can still see you walking hand in hand with “dad” on the way to one of your “man” trips. I see you playing with “your girls.”

You have made us all so very proud of you. I love you. Take care sailor!

love,

B.

Addendum: Mike died as a result of a driving error on the part of the driver of his vehicle. This was confirmed in open Kuwaiti court when the Iraqi driver was tried. The driver of your vehicle admitted he made an illegal turn into the path of the on-coming vehicle then lied about it! So much for the “brotherhood” of sailors! 

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~ by devildog6771 on March 23, 2005.

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