Skip to comments.VETERANS DAY(S) (David Reinhard)
Posted on 11/15/2007 7:09:33 AM PST by jazusamo
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Every day became Veterans Day at some point for Hood River's Debbie Lee. When her son Marc Alan Lee joined the Navy in May 2001. Or when her Navy SEAL headed to Iraq in March 2006. Most certainly it was the day she learned Marc had been killed in a firefight on Aug. 2, 2006, and became the first member of the Navy's elite commando unit to be killed in Iraq.
Veterans Day never ends after you receive that kind of news, and your own daily and private Veterans Days can tick by without end.
I met Debbie Lee outside Rep. Greg Walden's Washington, D.C., office last May. Less than a year after Marc's death, she was on Capitol Hill trying to bolster support for our troops in Iraq and their mission. It was not always an easy sell. The surge hadn't fully begun, and we were a long way from the kind of results we've seen lately. But then, Debbie Lee wasn't a sunshine soldier. Her son had been killed in the grimmest days of the war. He believed the mission was "the right thing to do" right up to the end, because everyday Iraqis wanted us to free them from the insurgents' "tyranny." And she, amid all the frustration and death -- even her own son's -- still believed.
On Monday, Veterans Day, I heard from her again. She's still speaking up and telling Marc's story to build support for the troops. She also comforts other families who've lost loved ones in the war and works at camps for kids of the fallen through a nonprofit called GuideOn. She has crossed the country twice on tours and is preparing for a third through MoveAmericaForward.org. The group's "Honoring the Heroes for the Holidays" tour kicks off Nov. 26 and will cover 41 cities. In addition to all this, Debbie Lee works with Families United, Gathering of Eagles and the Naval Special Warfare Foundation.
On Monday, I received a copy of her Veterans Day message. I share some of it, and Marc's story, because I think their sacrifice -- and the sacrifices of others like them -- requires so much more of us than a one-day observance:
"[I] write this letter to honor each and every veteran that has served or is serving our great country! I understand and appreciate all who have given so much . . . so that I could enjoy my daily freedoms.
"I was able to sleep well in the safety of my bed last night because you served. I was able to pray before my meal this morning in a public place without fearing arrest, because you gave. I am able to freely speak my mind and voice my opinion without fear of retaliation against me or my family, because you cared. I am able to stand up for what I believe in and not have a dictator's thoughts and opinions forced down my throat, because you stood up to the call to defend. I am free to worship the God who created me in His image, because you were selfless in your actions. To each one of you I speak from the bottom of my heart when I say thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!! You are my heroes and I want to remember and honor you this Veterans Day. Not a single day goes by that I don't think of the sacrifices you and your families have given!"
She wrote this from Naval Air Station North Island in Southern California. Her room there overlooked the ocean and Point Loma. At the tip of Point Loma is Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. It's her son's final resting place.
Marc Lee died in a two-hour battle in Ramadi. A sniper had shot another SEAL. Lee and others evacuated their teammate and returned to the battlefield. The citation for Marc Lee's Silver Star completes the story: "To protect the lives of his teammates, he fearlessly exposed himself to direct enemy fire by engaging the enemy with his machine gun and was mortally wounded in the engagement. His brave actions in the line of fire saved the lives of many of his teammates."
That was Marc Lee, and this was his mother on Veterans Day 2007:
"I don't take for granted our freedom. . . . [I]t comes at a cost and you willingly paid that for me. So please remember this Veterans Day that I am your biggest fan and that you are deeply appreciated and loved. From a grateful Gold Star Mom and Proud American, Debbie Lee.
"PS: Please help me by forwarding this to everyone you know who is serving or has served!"
It would also help to remember Debbie and Marc Lee and so many others on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, and all the long days in between.
Ping for Marc and Debbie Lee: A hero and his Mom.
She was at the most recent GoE gathering in D.C.
Yes indeed. A hero and his mom.
Thanks for sharing this, jaz. God bless Debbie Lee as she continues to tell her son’s story to build support for the troops.
God bless this woman who continues to give of her time after losing so much.
Hi, jaz. I’ve got more respect for this woman than I do for all of Congress.
I hear you, Ma and I feel the same. She’s quite a lady!
Thanks for posting the link, Syncro, she’s an inspiring lady.
I just read your reply to Debbie Lee and she says to say THANK YOU!
The Honoring Heroes at the Holidays Tour is getting ready to hit the road!