One year ago today, America lost two sons and patriots. Two families lost their sons. Charlie Company, 2/6 Infantry lost two comrades.
Specialist Robert E. Blair was a "bad-ass, bull-riding cowboy" from Florida. You could identify him from the behind because he always carried a can of Skoal in his back pocket. SPC Blair was the gunner for the company commander when he was killed in action in Baghdad. He was a son, a friend, a brother, a soldier, a hero. My son, Tom, will remember him as a bad-ass, bull-riding cowboy.
Captain Douglas A. Dicenzo, hailed from New Hampshire. He was a soldier's commander. He listened to his First Sergeants and the grunts. They admired and respected him. His soldiers in Charlie Company felt his loss as much as his family. Captain Dicenzo was killed in action in Baghdad one year ago today. His last minute decision to give my son Tom and two of his buddies time off from a mission saved those three lives.
So, today has special meaning for me. By the grace of God and one man's decision, I have my son. This weekend, as you have your family cookouts and picnics to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend and kick off a long awaited summer, please think of CPT Dicenzo and SPC Blair at least once. Then hug your kids, your husband, your wife, or your friend. And at least once, think of CPT Dicenzo's widow, and son, and parents, and friends. And regardless of your faith in God, or lack of it; or your personal beliefs about this war, please remember the Americans who unselfishly gave the ultimate sacrifice.
PS: And remember the men of Charlie Company
Annie Bryant-House is an elementary school teacher in Colorado Springs, CO., and has been an Army Brat, Army wife, and Army mom.