This has been a painful week for many of us in Steilacoom, Lakewood and Tacoma. For the past 20 plus years years, there has been a group of us that attend the 9 o’clock mass at St John Bosco and meet for breakfast after the service. Usually, there are 8 to 12 of us. When my sons and my daughter were still at home, they joined us as did the other couples’ children. The adults became surrogate aunts and uncles to the younger children. They supported them, encouraged them and always had an ear to listen to them. Most of those children are now young adults.
In the past four years, two of these boys joined the Armed Forces. My son, Joe is a Captain in the Marines. Brian was a 1st Lt in the Army. They were so handsome in their uniforms and we were all so proud of them. Joe returned safe from his 2nd deployment in Iraq in March. Brian left for Afghanistan in March. Brian was killed by an IED last Thursday. (Read Seattle Times story).
We hear a lot about celebrating our Freedom on the 4th of July and we all know we are able to do this because of the brave young men and women who are serving their country right now here at home and overseas…and also the men and women who did so in our past. Fatalities and casualties are statistics and names…but this week it really hit home. Our young hero was a kid at our table, a classmate of our children. As a teen, he probably argued with his parents and tested them. He was a great kid but I’m sure he wasn’t perfect. If you google “Brian Bradshaw, Steilacoom” you will find over 1020 articles written about him in newspapers and blogs across our nation. Another hero, another brave young man… but this time he’s one of our own.
So as I celebrate the birth of our nation and the signing of the Declaration of Independence this weekend with other mothers and fathers, and as I see all those exhuberant young children setting off firecrackers and waving flags, I’ll remember that all these heros were other peoples’ sons and daughters just like ours.
Happy 4th of July!
Susan Ford Wiese