Remembering Sacrifice

Photo by Clint

Photo by Clint

Ryan Jopek was 20 years old when he died. He made his home in Merrill Wisconsin. Ryan loved his 1966 Chevy pickup truck. According to a resolution passed by the Wisconsin legislature, he was a Chicago Bears fan and modeled his life after Walter Payton.

Matthew Stanley was 22 years old when he died in Iraq. He grew up in Wolfeboro New Hampshire. Matthew is remembered by his large family as a very responsible teenager, he worked in his uncle’s seafood business, helped raise younger cousins and was fun to be around.

Our friend Clint suggested, back when it was topical, that I write about the soldiers whose names are on bracelets worn by John McCain and Barack Obama. First McCain and then Obama mentioned the bracelets during the debates. McCain mentioned his bracelet and Matthew Stanley first. Obama had to decide if he was going to mention Ryan Jopek. Ryan’s mother had asked Obama not to use her sons names in speeches. She simply asked that he remember her son and try to end the killing so other mothers don’t have to suffer. After the debate she said that she was “ecstatic” when Obama mentioned her son.

These 2 young men, with brothers and sisters and parents and cousins and aunts and uncles, will be remembered not just by their families and friends, but by all of us and historians for their part in war, and in presidential politics.

I had not heard of these memorial bracelets before last summer. It was when Nancy was drawing names of the dead on NE Broadway that she met a woman who still wore the bracelet of a friend of who died in Viet Nam decades ago.

Nancy will start chalking again, as soon as the weather allows. The schedule and location are below.

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