Skip to comments.Katherine Cathey and 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey. (A moving photo essay on the true cost of freedom)
Posted on 02/18/2011 6:20:28 AM PST by TSgt
Todd Heislers Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographic Series
At the first sight of her husbands flag-draped casket, Katherine Cathey broke into uncontrollable sobs, finding support in the arms of Major Steve Beck. When Beck first knocked on her door in Brighton, Colorado, to notify her of her husbands death, she glared at him, cursed him, and refused to speak to him for more than an hour. Over the next several days, he helped guide her through the grief. By the time they reached the tarmac, she wouldnt let go.
Minutes after her husbands casket arrived at the Reno airport, Katherine Cathey fell onto the flag. When 2nd Lt. James Cathey left for Iraq, he wrote a letter to Katherine that read, in part, there are no words to describe how much I love you, and will miss you. I will also promise you one thing: I will be home. I have a wife and a new baby to take care of, and you guys are my world.
The knock at the door begins a ritual steeped in tradition more than two centuries old; a tradition based on the same tenet: Never leave a Marine behind. When the wars began in Afghanistan and Iraq, Maj. Steve Beck expected to find himself overseas, in the heat of battle. He never thought he would be the one arranging funerals for his fallen comrades.
Major Steve Beck and another Marine approach the family home of 2nd Lt. James Cathey, preparing to escort the Catheys to the airport to receive their sons body. Five days earlier, the shadows of Casualty Assistance Call Officers followed the same path, carrying the news no military family ever wants to hear. Ill never forget Major Becks profile, said Bob Burns of the night he was notified of his sons death. The gold star flag in the window signifies the death of a loved one oversees.
After arriving at the funeral home, Katherine Cathey pressed her pregnant belly to her husbands casket, moaning softly. Two days after she was notified of Jims death in Iraq, she found out they would have a boy. Born on December 23, 2005, he was named James Jeffrey Cathey, Jr.
Since James Cathey was killed in a massive explosion, his body was delicately wrapped in a shroud by military morticians, then his Marine uniform was laid atop his body. Since Katherine Cathey decided not to view her husbands body, Maj. Steve Beck took her hand, and pressed it down on the uniform. Hes here, he said quietly. Feel right here.
The night before the burial of her husbands body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of Cat, and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it, she said. I think thats what he would have wanted.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13
Tears falling. :-((((((
Every time I see this, my heart aches for the familes, and my anger grows at the treatment by liberals of the military and their families.
I hope God has a special place for heroes like 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey. A great American who knew what it meant to be an American.
Might have a better impact (on me at least) if it didn’t come from the “sexualityinart” blog...
Perhaps you could focus on the content and not the URL?
Excuse me...There's so much dust in this room I have to go away and wipe my eyes...
God bless our servicemen, servicewomen and their families!
Tears, tears, tears! May the Lord bless 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey, his beautiful wife and son. When I saw the wife press her swollen tummy against the casket, I completely lost it. Thank you for posting. Bless our armed forces.
For anyone who has never seen the HBO movie, “Taking Chance”, I recommend it - you’ll never forget it.
Oh, God bless this family and please ease their sorrow....
I was a CACO officer for two years while in the Navy in San Diego - it wasn’t during combat but we still lose troopers during peace time. Most of my cases were due to stupidity on the part of the service member but it affected the families, kids and all just the same way.
While most jobs in the military are pretty damn tough, being a CACO is really up there...
Tears flowing here too.
My son in law was injured in an IED explosion in Iraq.
That’s heartbreaking. I’ll remember them all in my prayers.
Thanks for posting it.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.