On Memorial Day, ten years ago, my friend, Major Mathew Schram, counter-attacked sixteen Iraqi insurgents who tried to kill everyone in Major Schram’s convoy. Mat rushed up into the ambushers, fighting back and calling for help.
Mat died fighting, but not before he did what he set out to do – disrupt the ambush and save his soldiers.
Mat would never let anyone down. On the last day of his life, he saved everyone but himself. While shocked and sorrowful at the news of his death, not one of Mat’s friends were surprised that, even in dying, Mat succeeded.
On this Memorial Day, nine years later, while it’s true that I’ll be surrounded by many who won’t appreciate Mat’s sacrifice, there are those that do. Gold Star families - the parents and families of those who gave all also sacrificed for our country in a tremendous way. To lose a son or daughter, a mother or father, a sister or brother, is a loss so great that no words exist to ease the grief and anguish they feel. To all the Gold Star parents, spouses, and family members “May God Bless You!”
Thinking about Mat Schram, I know that he would have been a great husband and father. Every day, I know that he would have been a better father than me. And most days, I try to live up to his sacrifice.
On Memorial Day, when not grilling bratwurst or watching a parade, I’ll be making my daughter laugh with my antics on horseback and I’ll be encouraging my son at his swim meet. Being a good “daddy” is the best way that I know to honor all of my friends who’ve given their lives in our defense. That’s the best way to honor the sacrifice of so many for our freedom – ensuring that our future is worthy of the sacrifice of their tomorrows.
I miss him.