Mary Katharine Ham recently took a trip to Iraq along w/ ret. COL Tom Manion who went there to meet some Iraqis who his son 1LT Travis Manion had trained. Unfortunately Travis caught a sniper round while pulling some other Marines to safety, but as the Hammer let's us know he is certainly not forgotten.
I’ve known the Manion family for three years. I met them six months after Travis died, when 200 of his family members and friends came to Washington to run the Marine Corps Marathon in his honor. Travis had planned to run the race with his dad when he got back from Iraq. Instead, his father ran the race that day wearing two numbers. The official results say Travis Manion crossed the finish line at 4:19:39.
Back then, his mother Janet was barely able to speak at a pre-race dinner honoring Travis. This year, she virtually emceed the event. His older sister went from grieving her brother to leading a foundation in his honor. His father went from being a seemingly stoic, mostly silent, Gold Star father to a candidate for Congress in 2008, outperforming expectations in a tough Pennsylvania district and a bad year for Republicans, but ultimately losing to antiwar Iraq veteran Patrick Murphy.
Each member of the family has changed. Where they used to say “Since Travis . . . ,” trailing off without finishing the sentence, they now say “Since we lost Travis,” with affection and purpose. But beyond grieving, they’ve committed themselves to the mission Travis is no longer here to serve—the good of his fellow veterans, his country, and the people of Iraq.