Last night I watched the perfect Memorial Day movie on HBO called "Taking Chance". It is the true story of a marine Lt. colonel escorting the remains of a fellow marine, Chance Phelps, on his final journey from Dover Airforce base to his final resting place in his hometown in Wyoming. PFC Chance Phelps was only 20 when he was killed in Iraq on Good Friday in 2004. Like many, he was motivated to join the marines by the events of September 11. Despite being wounded, he refused to be evacuated, and instead manned his M240 machine gun to cover the evacuation of the rest of his convoy. Upon withdrawal, he sustained his fatal wound to the head. Even though similar stories have played out across America since Operation Iraqi Freedom began, it was moving in so many ways to me. It was touching to see the respect that employees of Northwest Airlines gave their precious cargo as it traveled across the country. There was no fanfare, just quiet reverence for a brave young man who paid the highest price for his country. I will always remember PFC Chance Phelps and his story, not because it was unique, but because Lt. Colonel Strobl was so moved by his experience that he decided to share it with us. And that is what I will remember on this Memorial Day, those who have given their lives so that I might live free in a country I love.
I also remember my Mom and Dad and I miss them.