In Memory

I watched a special this morning on HBO entitled “Last Letters Home”. It profiles families that have lost loved ones in Iraq. Although each story was moving, this story in particular touched me the most. We should never forget those who have served and are serving our country.

Excerpt of a letter from Army Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, 34, of Springfield, Mo. Private Givens was killed May 1 when his tank fell into the Euphrates River after the bank on which he was parked gave way. This letter was written to be delivered to his family if he died. Melissa is his wife, Dakota his 6-year-old stepson and Bean the name he used for his son, Carson, who was born May 29, just a few weeks after Jesse’s death.

My family,

I never thought that I would be writing a letter like this. I really don’t know where to start. I’ve been getting bad feelings, though and, well, if you are reading this. . . .

The happiest moments in my life all deal with my little family. I will always have with me the small moments we all shared. The moments when you quit taking life so serious and smiled. The sounds of a beautiful boy’s laughter or the simple nudge of a baby unborn. You will never know how complete you have made me. You saved me from loneliness and taught me how to think beyond myself. You taught me how to live and to love. You opened my eyes to a world I never dreamed existed.

Dakota . . . you taught me how to care until it hurts, you taught me how to smile again. You taught me that life isn’t so serious and sometimes you just have to play. You have a big, beautiful heart. Through life you need to keep it open and follow it. Never be afraid to be yourself. I will always be there in our park when you dream so we can play. I love you, and hope someday you will understand why I didn’t come home. Please be proud of me.

Bean, I never got to see you but I know in my heart you are beautiful. I know you will be strong and big-hearted like your mom and brother. I will always have with me the feel of the soft nudges on your mom’s belly, and the joy I felt when I found out you were on your way. I love you, Bean.

Melissa, I have never been as blessed as the day I met you. You are my angel, soulmate, wife, lover and best friend. I am sorry. I did not want to have to write this letter. There is so much more I need to say, so much more I need to share. A lifetime’s worth. I married you for a million lifetimes. That’s how long I will be with you. Please keep my babies safe. Please find it in your heart to forgive me for leaving you alone. . . . Teach our babies to live life to the fullest, tell yourself to do the same.

I will always be there with you, Melissa. I will always want you, need you and love you, in my heart, my mind and my soul. Do me a favor, after you tuck the children in. Give them hugs and kisses from me. Go outside and look at the stars and count them. Don’t forget to smile.

Love Always,
Your husband,

16 thoughts on “In Memory”

  1. Many service people have no choice but to enlist. I joined the Royal Navy and served in the Falklands conflict in 1982 because it was the only job I could get. Did I want to kill Argentinians (no – but I wanted to survive)I believe that the image of God resides in all humanity, not just those we like, so any death is a sad event. Maybe we just don’t give a damn that Jesus said love your brothers and love your enemies, either way you gotta have some love.

  2. Dude, that was an obvious, pointless and insensitive comment. Throwing Jesus’s name in there added nothing. Cops know there’s danger in their jobs, and they carry guns. Are they “living by the sword?” Would you see any merit in pointing out to the families of dead cops that they had “unspoken contracts?”This is just a spiritualized way of saying that they had this coming to them.

  3. I fought in a pointless war to “defend South Africa against the anti-christian communists”. And I was persuaded by Government propoganda that this was a good and noble cause. And friends of mine died. And now I look back and mourn the futility of war. Some people die, and many more people cry. And no lasting good comes of it. My condolences with the families of those who have died – both Americans and Iraquis.

  4. Don’t forget that Springfield is also home to “Vatican Blue,” the HQ of the Assemblies of God. Which college did you attend, nonotone? I was at Evangel. There’s no shortage of churches, colleges, or chinese restaurants in Springfield, MO.

  5. Aaaanyhoo…Thanks for posting this, Steve. Here’s another guy that I < HREF="" REL="nofollow">posted about<>, very similar situation. Heartbreaking.

  6. Frankly, it is not terribly shocking when a soldier dies: it is the natural order of things. Before you get upset with me take a moment to recall the words of Jesus, ‘those who live by the sword will die by the sword.’ A soldier who voluntarily serves in the military has entered into an unspoken contract in which he/she accepts the risk of death or dismemberment. And so soldiers die. It is sad, yes, but it is a reasonable expectation.

  7. This fella was a REAL MAN. Can we imagine how broken his heart was when he wrote that letter? I went to college in Springfield, MO and my extended family hails from nearby there. There are about forty-eleven-thousand churches and at least 3 Bible Colleges in Springfield Many, many are fundamentalists of either pentecostal or bible-baptist stripe. That whole area is “americana christianized mid-west”.My Grandfather lost his heart and mind serving in the USN in WWII. Afer coming home, he died a slow death for the next 30 years, dealing with a brain tumor and respiratory problems. As far as I know he rarely, if ever, darkened the door of any Church during this time. His community (near Springfield, MO) was full of Churches and I don’t think any Christian or “pastor” EVER visited him at home or tried to befriend him.… so I pray that the widow and children of Army Pfc. Jesse A. Givens will be embraced and helped in all ways necessary by the “Christians” in Springfield – not just for a few days or weeks but for as long as they have need. Listen Springfield Christians, the essence of your testimony is NOT in the huge Chruch Buildings and large collection of fancy Christian Fleamarkets (bookstores) that your fair city has. Rather, it’s in your capacity to love the families of those who gave their lives for the freedom and privilege you enjoy.

  8. OK, one at a time…..jeeezAnytime shows ~any~ intelligence whatsoever, besides rallying around the flag hollering doo-dah dandy, it’s Katy bar the door for all those who are so much better than me. Oh well. And I just wanted to agree to disagree….OK Dorsey, can you guess how many hundreds of thousands were killed, mutilated, and rendered mentally useless for that half-a-dozen ? Well, sorry. The ratio still doesn’t work out for me. I will bet most of those weren’t infantry or SF, if any. Still a BS way to get warm bodies for the next war.And,”I” am not sick. I believe in a little justice, if self-inflicted, so be it. More people need to take a stand and DO SOMETHING because the (A) politicians DAMN sure ain’t going to do anything about it, (B) Most people ignore everything after they turn off the news on TV, and wouldn’t pee on your face if your mouth was on fire.It’s bitches like the one I mentioned that take the cake. This trashy slut was two weeks away from not getting a dime, because of a divorce that wasn’t final, the guy blew his brains out or OD’ed, I don’t know but he’s dead anyhow, this hairy slut got more money that she can blow, and she doesn’t even take care of her own kids. Her bio-dad ( loose term there)has the kids, and she doesn’t send him one red dime, but she blows it on her flaver-of-da-month, drugs, and cars. She got busted in St.Louis,drugs, car impounded. Two weeks later, back in Tulsa, new car. Don’t even think about preaching to me, when sluts like her need to be sterilized before they can breed anymore misery. Lead works real well. I suppose you want to take up for the woman on the news who sold her baby for crack ? Good call.I am sure there were no ulterior motives for enlisting, other than those who wanted to better themselves. I enlisted in the AF after I bailed out of HS, wanted to better myself. Did my duty, got out, dropped right back into civilian life as if I had never left it. Got my GED, got a woman, had kids, etc. I respect those who have died, for I think the majority of them had noble intentions. It’s too bad our beaur-o-cratic Veg-o-matic government is no-where NEAR worthy enough to fight in any modern day cause, because there is too much BS about oil, money, Saddam, (who WE original helped put in power).Even the reason for the Civil War is being changed. It was ALL about slavery, nothing else, if you believe modern textbooks. Eh ?Go to a garage sale, or estate sale, and pick up some early Sixties encyclopedias for a five-spot (don’t buy ’em on the first day) and be truly enlightened, brutha…….( the lounge singer pic is just hilarious…..)

  9. Your right, I suppose there are always other choices, yet nearly all join the military not to kill, the primary aim is to defend.Those who do join the military to kill would have done it whether at home or abroad, they are just sick people, the type who would look at someone and say <> she needs a bullet to the brain<>

  10. Certainly there have been many useless wars, but the revolutionary war wasn’t useless. The Civil war wasn’t useless. WWII wasn’t useless. Were they?God bless all the soldiers who fight to preserve our freedoms and liberate others in the process. Some pay the ultimate sacrifice and others pay physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. We owe them our highest gratitude.

  11. Solemn post, Steve. Appropriate post.No matter how we feel about the war, I think it’s paramount that we revere the men and women who serve you and me in the US military. We should let nothing diminish their sacrifice.

  12. What do you mean, preacher? I personally know a half-dozen guys who are in college right now, thanks to all that BS about the college money.Your blog is funny as hell, but I didn’t see anything there about this topic, only that you want Joel Osteen’s wife to be your mistress.

  13. “Just another reason to hate this war. Seeing young families busted up like this just kills me.”My semi-step-daughter would disagree with you. She gets the Widow’s benefit, the two boys (who live w/ their GP) get money, and she blows it on cars and drugs, and a new boyfried every 3 or 4 months. She needs a bullet to the brain.And while I’m here, I will say that I respect the decisions of those who have served, but being in the Army, MC, etc., if you don’t know or can’t fathom that they are in the business of KILLING, you don’t need to send the next generation off to war. That BS about the college money and all that is just that. BS.Have no choice ? there’s ALWAYS more choices than you are willing to see. This country hasn’t fought a war for “US” in a loooooooooong time. Too many other “interests” to be totally patriotic. But, you can read my blogs for more.

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