Lest they be forgotten
Dedicated to the fallen heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom
A Dad's promise to his Son!
The night of Justinís funeral and into
I had a memorial service planned for Justin here in my hometown of Keystone Heights, Florida, in August. It was two weeks after we got back. I was sitting at home going through pictures to get them set up for the memorial service and it was just emotionally draining. I broke down emotionally and I kept thinking about this memorial I wanted to do; I wanted to do it then, right now, and I didnít have the time and couldnít do it. I was thinking it was a worthwhile goal to look forward to. I got to thinking about how many other parents there were sitting there doing the exact same thing that I was right now; feeling totally helpless and wanting to do something but not knowing what to do. This feeling of helplessness was just overwhelming. I thought of all the folks that lost their children in this war and also just if they lost them in an automobile accident or drowning or whatever. They lost a child and itís just devastating. Well, then it came to me as I was sitting here. I was holding a picture of Justin and was looking at my flagpole out in front of the house. I had this vision of the memorial keep reoccurring and as I sat there I thought, ďYou know, the simplicity of this memorial, the basic design, I could put one in the hometown of every hero we lost or will lose in this war.Ē As I sat there it became more and more of a vision and I just looked at the picture of Justin (his nickname was Hobie) and I said, "Hobie, weíve got a lot of work to do.Ē I had been thinking about what on earth I was going to do for the rest of my life and thatís where I made the determination that these memorials were what I was going to move forward on. Sometime about mid-September I found out that there was a survivor (Sgt. Doug Norman) of this ambush where my son and Jason Jordan were killed so I contacted him. I spoke with him and it was a very emotional and very trying time but there was some closure there as well. I received a letter from his dad, Matt Norman, and we started corresponding back and forth and I shared my vision with him of what I wanted to do. Before I knew it this vision had pretty much taken on a life of its own. I also shared the vision with Tom Weiskotten, a life long friend, and Allen Hill from Congressman Cliff Sternís office (my representative in Congress from Florida). Roy Smith, a friend, designed the web site and Ian Frisbie put my vision on paper.
Doug Norman, Sgt. Norman, wanted to reenlist at the bridge dedication ceremony
to honor Justin and fellow soldier Jason Jordan. He is doing a three-year
reenlistment. Heís been assigned to the Old Guard; this is the honor guard unit
at Arlington National Cemetery. He is doing this in honor of them and I
was overwhelmed and humbled and honored by that. It has been just overwhelming
to me. Within a month people not only saw the vision of these memorials, they
embraced it and have been unbelievably helpful, supportive and inspirational. It
has truly been a humbling experience. There are too many people to name but with
the spiritual strength Iíve drawn from God, Justin and everybody involved and
with their prayers this has been an uplifting moment, no movement, I should say.
I just have to say this is how it all started; it was just a vision of a dad
wanting to do something to honor his son. Hopefully this will be spiritually
uplifting and helpful to all the other parents and family members out there.
Itís a small token for the sacrifices that they have made as well as their
family members and loved ones. I have to say itís been a combination of the
right people, the right place, the right time, for the right cause and thank you
all from the bottom of my heart.