It was the picture that caught my attention. It's of CPT Michael J. Mackinnon's daughter Madison receiving the "Gold Medal of Remembrance" from the 3rd ID's CG, MG Anthony Cucolo. That's Madison's mom and CPT Mackinnon's widow, Becky, standing behind her. CPT Mackinnon was with 4th Battalion, 64th Armor, 4th Brigade Combat Team, and was killed Oct. 27, 2005 in Baghdad by a roadside bomb.
I don't know, I think it was the look on Madison's face which drew me in. So young and appreciative, but no longer innocent to the tragedies of life. She's suffered one of the toughest there is and yet, there she is with that sweet smile on her face as MG Cucolo presents her with the medal in honor of her lost father. I think her dad would have been awful proud of her.
Folks I know we support our troops and we remember the fallen and honor them, but we owe just as much to the Madison Mackinnon's of the world as we do our troops. They make the toughest sacrifice of us all. They give up a parent, sometimes for years on multiple tours and sometimes forever as in Madison's case.
Maybe to some this will just hit them as another picture among thousands, but I think, at least for me, it will forever haunt my conscience when I think of the military families and what they give for our defense. They are the silent heroes in all of this. It's our job to make sure they're not forgotten. A tip of the hat to the 3rd ID for remembering their own and remembering that the families of our fallen remain a part of the military community forever.
[Photo: Spc. Amanda McBride]