I looked into your eyes this morning and was moved to tears.
So young, even in that full Marine dress with your newly minted face of stone.
The inscription below your photo reads that you were one day shy of 20 years old when you breathed your final breath back in 2005. One day from 20. Damn.
And there I was, dripping wet after pushing pretty hard on this morning's sweet run around our little country town under perhaps the most vibrantly starry sky I've seen in years, when I happened past the house where I think your mom still lives. It's the one with your photo tacked to a tree out front, and the words "Freedom Isn't Free."
So I looked in your eyes, and I wished that I had known you. And that you were still here. That you hadn't made the ultimate sacrifice in that faraway land one day shy of turning 20.
So I hope you'll forgive an old guy, LCPT Daniel Bubb, for shedding some tears in your honor.
And then I did the only thing I could think of to do in your honor — I dropped to the pavement and started cranking out push-ups. Maybe it was the moment, but those push-ups were a whole lot easier that normal. Maybe I'm crazy, but I swear I could feel your presence urging me on. 10, 20, 30 ... So I kept going ... 40, 50, 60 ... 75. Complete failure. Plastered flat. Gasping for breath.
Then I rose, and I looked into your eyes again. And I said a short prayer for you and so many others who have given their all for others.
Although I didn't know you, Daniel, I am honored by your life, your service and your sacrifice.
You are not forgotten. I will carry this time with me for many, many days.
I hope, somehow, that the connection I felt this morning was felt on your end, too.
Rest in peace, brave warrior. What is remembered lives.