Another Fallen Soldier

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

— Mary Elizabeth Frye (1932)

We got news this morning that another Marine in our Chicago Metro area has been killed in action in Afghanistan.

Corporal Alex Martinez USMC

Alex is the second Marine we’ve lost in a month’s time. Corporal Conner Lowry was returned to his family on March 9th. His mother was presented with a Gold Star Banner and a prayer shawl by the president of our local chapter of Blue Star Mothers. And now, Mrs. Julianna Martinez, the wife of Corporal Alex Martinez will be presented with the same.

It breaks my heart.

Since my sons joined the U.S. Navy last year, I pay more attention to the war. I sadly and shamefully confess that until my boys left for boot camp, I gave little thought to our soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. America’s been at war, and I’ve been at the mall. Like other Americans, I’ve complained about the cost of the war and the futility of peace in these Middle East nations. I prayed general prayers for the safety of the troops. But it’s never really personal until it’s your own family or friend who leaves in defense of freedom.

Now my days are different. I spend hours each and every day, coordinating the dissemination of Blue Star Banners. I lie awake in the early hours of the day, thinking of new ways to elevate the awareness of this old tradition. I look for banners in the windows of the homes in our town.

I write letters to my sons to keep them informed about family activities, never letting on that I worry about them as deployment day draws nearer and nearer. And my tears fall every time there’s bad news from the Department of Defense.

Now I have friends whose sons and daughters face mortal danger each and every day. Now I pray for soldiers, airmen and sailors by name because the war is very personal to us.

Nobody wants to support this war — but everybody should support the families of the men and women who have been called to serve in the Armed Forces. Find a way to make this war personal. Adopt a soldier. Buy them a cup of coffee through Green Beans Coffee. Pick a soldier from our Blue Star Banners facebook page and commit to pray for him or her. If you know of a military family who is expecting a baby, please tell them about Operation: Shower — we want to bless these Mamas!

I hope you’ll find joy and peace in your Easter celebration this weekend if you are a Christian. If you’re Jewish, God bless your Passover celebration. If you’re someone who just loves bunnies and candy and spring flowers, that’s all good too. But if you think of it, please pray for the family of Corporal Alex Martinez. Love, Natalie

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Three Well Beings
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 00:30:49

    I will pray for them, Natalie. I haven’t had a son or daughter in the military, but I sure do have friends who know precisely what you’re experiencing. Until one of the young men did come home we actively sent him and some of his buddies “care packages” and that was just one way that helped me feel connected to the troops…it’s really almost bizarre how disconnected we can be from the human cost of this war. I have begun to look into some other way to be committed, and I’m researching what is being done for returning servicemen and women with either head injuries or emotional trauma. I think that’s where I’ve begun to feel a deep sadness…the emotional toll of so many rounds of deployment. I will be praying for your sons, too, Natalie. I sincerely mean that. Debra


    • Natalie
      Apr 08, 2012 @ 07:07:50

      Debra, blessings on you for all the helping you do! I agree that with many returning servicemen there will be ample opportunity to help with wounded warriors and readjustment issues that they will face. My heart is there with you — I’m going up to Naval Base Great Lakes on Wednesday to talk with a Lieutenant up there about ways we can be involved in those ways. Thanks from my heart for your prayers — it’s the BEST calling we have.


  2. Dianna
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 07:18:10

    Very sobering post today, Natalie. How sad it is whenever we lose a soldier. I will definitely check those links that you provided.
    And I’ll pray for the safety of your sons, too. I think it’s wonderful that you’re so involved in the Blue Star Banner project.
    Happy Easter to you and yours.


  3. eof737
    May 10, 2012 @ 15:58:50

    I’m sorry to read this.. my condolences go out to his family… so sad.


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