Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

In August 2006 I did a tour of duty in Iraq. I was the NCOIC of a combat weather team. We support the Army with weather information. During that tour I had the opportunity to work with an Army Captain by the name of Sean Lyerly. Over 10 years younger than I he always had a smile on his face and always had a genuine concern for the welfare of those around him, including the enlisted. When we traveled to the other side of the base to check out the Bazaar, he got a Hum-Vee and drove us over. The Captain drove the two NCOs.

He loved spicy foods, from the wasabi trail mix that someone sent around Christmas to the Jalapeno/cheese poppers he asked me to bring him back from the chow hall.

We had many talks about wasabi. Upon finding out that most "wasabi" in the states was really horseradish, and that actual wasabi was very expensive, we decided to explore the possibility of starting a business growing wasabi when we returned. He had an interest in plants and actually received a degree in horticulture from Texas A&M and had experience caring for aquatic plants when he worked at Disneyland (or Disney world I can't remember). Naturally, we felt the answer would be to grow the wasabi hydroponically.

He loved his wife and 3 year old son and he loved to fly. He was one of the battle captains in the the tactical operations center (TOC) and consequently did not get to fly as often as he would have preferred. One of the last things I heard the Colonel tell him before I left was, "Don't worry, you'll get more flight time, I promise."

Our unit supported the Army's year long deployment with three 4 month rotations. Mine was the first. I left on December 31, 2006.

On January 20th he was shot down and killed along with 11 others who were passengers in the Blackhawk he was flying.

This Memorial Day, take a moment from the sales and the BBQs, and remember these and the many others who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country and it's citizens.

Memorial Day

They stood around the graves
And told their stories,
The very young and very old
And for every story learned,
For every one taught
A monument danced and a memory walked,
A grave remained unfinished and unfilled.

They sat upon the headstones
And sang their songs,
The living and the dead
And for every song left unheard
For every one forgot
A memory wept and a history slept,
A grave was sealed and a spirit stilled.


kkollwitz said...

Thanks for that eloquent reminder of the reason for Memorial Day.

Euripides said...

Thanks Eutychus for your service and memorial to a great guy. Isn't it strange that Obama would ask for our prayers for peace on this day and ignore our prayers for the country on the national day of prayer?

alaiyo said...

I appreciate this post a great deal. My oldest is a Navy CPO and has spent a couple of tours in Afghanistan, and it is always a mix of pride and fear when he is gone. Thank you for your service to our country; may we prove worthy of it.


barn swallow said...

Thank you for helping us glimpse Captain Lyerly, and for reminding us how real the people who risk and give up their lives for us are. I pray for Captain Lyerly's wife and son as they miss him today.

eutychus said...

Thank-you all for your kind words and your appreciation of my friend and his service. No other death (besides my own father) has touched me to the depths that his did. To this day, I have trouble writing or talking about it with a dry eye.

alaiyo- those who wait at home have the hardest job in the military. All of us who serve know how very true that is. May God bless you and your family and your service.