The story is one that has been E-mailed and blogged about. What I have to say can’t match the eloquent words of the man the story is about. You see, From Father to Son, Last Words to Live By, is a story about a 200-page journal left by First Sgt. Charles Monroe King to his young son, Jordan. Jordan’s mom, Dana Canedy wrote about this gift on January 1, in the New York Times. On a day devoted to new beginnings, it was fitting to be reminded of the tremendous sacrifices of our servicemen and women whose lives have been cut short.
“He had tucked a message to me in the front of Jordan’s journal. This is the letter every soldier should write, he said. For us, life will move on through Jordan. He will be an extension of us and hopefully everything that we stand for. ... I would like to see him grow up to be a man, but only God knows what the future holds.”
First Sgt. King was a brave and honorable man dedicated to serving America in whatever way he was asked. I hate that our government is asking our soldiers to fight this war in Iraq. Every story such as First Sgt. King’s reminds me that when one soldier dies, a part of a child, wife, girlfriend, mother, father also dies. Jordan will have this journal, but he won’t have his loving father’s hands to guide him on that rocky path to adulthood.
First Sgt. King wrote about himself--what he liked to eat and his favorite football team, but he shared advice like “Never be ashamed to cry. No man is too good to get on his knee and humble himself to God. Follow your heart and look for the strength of a woman.”
“The 18th was a long, solemn night, he wrote in Jordan’s journal. We had a memorial for two soldiers who were killed by an improvised explosive device. None of my soldiers went to the memorial. Their excuse was that they didn’t want to go because it was depressing. I told them it was selfish of them not to pay their respects to two men who were selfless in giving their lives for their country.
Things may not always be easy or pleasant for you, that’s life, but always pay your respects for the way people lived and what they stood for. It’s the honorable thing to do.”
We all want to think our time here on earth amounts to something significant. Maybe we won’t find a cure for a disease or score a touchdown in the Super Bowl or write the great American novel. But as First Sgt. King wrote, “life will move on” through our children. This is really our greatest accomplishment.