Dear Dustin,

Dear Dustin,

It has been nine years since we first remembered your service to our country.  All of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines gave some, and you, 21 other Marines, and a Navy corpsman gave all.

I remember your smile and your hard work at The Swim Club.   I could always count on you to get any job done.  If it had not been for you and Chris, I may not have ever been able to get the pool ready for the opening on Memorial Day Weekend.  Memorial Day.  We no longer own the pool.  Memorial Day is not about opening the pool.  It is about remembering.

Much has happened over the years, and I have had time to reflect on all of the young people who have been part of my life.  There have been many who joined a branch of the service:

David, who cussed in class, willingly did twenty-five push-ups as punishment, challenged me to push up contests.  I could beat him when he was a freshman, but he won every time I saw him his senior year.  Yes, David was a Devil Dog like you.

Kenny, all 120 pounds of him, went into the Army Reserves and loaded 60-pound rounds into a tank.

There is Michael who is a fighter pilot, and Dillon who repairs the jets.

Nadia and Sam went to Annapolis, one to be a Naval officer and one to be a Marine officer.

Then there is Aaron, who willingly jumps out of helicopters to save others as a Navy rescue swimmer.

And Billy, who graduated from The Air Force Academy with the desire to fly drones, so future Marines and soldiers won’t have to be so close to the small arms fire that made your life so short.

My children know your story Dustin, not just your service to America, but to our family.  Thank you.


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