Boots Says Goodbye
Thomas P. Barnett on Rumsfeld

The Last Letter - Godspeed Corporal Starr

Tony sends this link about a Marine's last letter home that was found on his computer to be read in the event of his death:

Marine's last letter found on computer
'Others have died for my freedom'


In August, Brian and Shellie Starr of Snohomish received a final message from the son they lost on Memorial Day.

In plain view on a desktop computer returned to the United States by 22-year-old Cpl. Jeff Starr's fellow Marines was a letter he had composed for his girlfriend. It was to be read if he did not return.

"Obviously," he wrote, "if you are reading this, then I have died in Iraq."

On his third deployment to Iraq since the war began in March 2003, Starr was well-acquainted with war's horror and uncertainty. Starr rubbed shoulders with death in April 2004, when he and 13 other Marines, trapped behind enemy lines in Fallujah, fought off several hundred insurgents for several hours until reinforcements arrived. Starr planned to leave the Marines in August. He wanted to go to college, to marry his sweetheart.

Instead, Starr came into the sights of an enemy sniper during fighting in Ar Ramadi on Memorial Day. A corpsman who tried to save him wrote Starr's loved ones afterward that the young Marine was shot through his left shoulder. The bullet crossed his chest and struck his heart. Starr never regained consciousness.

Although other families across the nation last month privately sorted and wept through the things carried to war by sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, the Starrs and their son's girlfriend shared publicly what he wanted known...

The rest is in the Extended Section:

"Dearest ----

I'm writing this for one reason only. On April 13th 2004, I thought I was going to die. My only regret is that I hadn't spent enough time with you. That I hadn't told you everything I wanted to. Being in Iraq for a 3rd time, I don't want to feel that way again because it was the worst feeling ever.

"So this letter is in case I won't ever get the chance to tell you," he wrote.

Starr believed in what he was doing, but knew he could die.

"I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances.

"I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark.

"Well I can't type forever, I know you want to read more but I thought simple and to the point would be easier.

"I love you with all my heart.

"Goodbye my Love."...

Godspeed, Corporal Starr, godspeed.