Friday, June 03, 2005

June 4th

Today is the 27th anniversary of my birth. I will be spending the day traveling down to southern Germany with a friend in order to take part in a sports event tomorrow. In the evening we will meet Sarah and The Girl for dinner. It will all in all be a pretty merry day for me. But there will be a sense of gloom over the day, because it is also the one year anniversary of Erik McCrae’s death.

He was such a great example of how the military is a choice. He was co-valedictorian at his high school, graduating with the prestigious International Baccalaureate program with a 4.0 grade average. And his college career was similar: graduating with a bachelors of science in physics in just two years. His father was an Oregon National Guard corporal and he spent his childhood hanging around the military. However when he went to college he didn’t go on a ROTC scholarship, even though he knew he also wanted to join the national guard, because he wanted both to experience college separately from the military. His wife said that when they traveled together she brought some brain candy book to read, but he would bring a book on physics theory.

He had a job as an engineer, and was a reserve with the police, not to mention his national guard obligations.

1LT McCrae wasn’t necessarily anymore special than every other soldier. They make a choice, although they could be doing something else. People like Pat Tillman are lauded for walking away from lucrative careers to join the army, but most people haven’t reached their potential yet. And the military is a very conscious decision. Erik’s wife said he always wanted to help people. He was always there to lend a helping hand. And that is how he felt about his service in Iraq.

In February 2004 before deploying to Iraq, he married his sweetheart, Heather. On June 4th, 2004, while coming to the aid of military police injured in an IED attack, he and two other Oregon National Guardsmen were the victims of a second IED detonated from afar. The other two died at the scene, and Erik succumbed to his wounds later that day.

I don’t think that today will be any worse for Heather than any other day since his death. I am sure she feels the same pain no matter what day it is, and however long ago it was. My thoughts will be with her today.


Blogger Blaez said...

Happy Birthday, sweety.

And We'll be thinking of Heather today.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Glucklicher Geburtstag.

Sie sind alt :)

Tatsachlich saugt mein Deutsch.

Ich habe einen freund, der von Deutschland jetzt besucht, deshalb habe ich es ein kleines mehr als ublich benutzt.

Have fun on your travels.

I too will be thinking of Heather and her family today.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Sminklemeyer said...

wow. that was a special and heartfelt post. thanks.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Happy birthday!!! I hope it will be full of wonderful things that will become good memories for years to come.

I will keep Heather in my thoughts today too. The one-year anniversary must be difficult for her.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

What a thoughtful Birthday Present from you to your readers to tell us about Erik. Your Birthday is over but I hope you had fun.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Household6 said...

I too hope you had a great birthday. I hope you remembered to wave as you drove past my house on your way down to southern Germany.

Thank for the reminder of someone special and how they have affected you and others in the world.


12:32 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

Happy (belated) Birthday!

3:05 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

I am a couple days late - but I hope you had a great birthday.

What a wonderful tribute you've given to Erik and to Heather. My heart goes out to her and I hope she's doing okay. There are so many very special people in our military - it's a constant amazement.

2:33 AM  

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