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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend...

From the Baltimore Sun:
(^Click link for full story^)
Through the glass front door, Sandy Seidel could see the uniformed Army officer who had come to deliver the news, and she thought for a fleeting moment that maybe, if she didn't answer, the man would go away. "But I knew what it was," she said, as the memory of that moment brought back tears yesterday. For the mother of a son serving in Iraq, "it's your nightmare."

Army 1st Lt. Robert Seidel III, 23, of Gettysburg, Pa., was killed while on patrol Thursday afternoon when his Humvee was struck by an explosive device, she and her husband, Robert Seidel Jr., said yesterday. They said the officer who came to their home said three other soldiers from their son's platoon and an Iraqi interpreter also were killed in the attack.

"You always know it's a possibility, but you hope it won't happen," Mr. Seidel said of the death of his son, who had last spoken with his parents on Mother's Day.

"He said he loved us, and he couldn't let Mother's Day go by without calling," Mrs. Seidel said of the 15-minute call. "He was ready to get back home, but he was upbeat and in good spirits."

The 2004 West Point graduate was a rifle platoon leader with the 2nd Battalion in the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y. He was also an Army Ranger, qualified for air assaults.

Lieutenant Seidel- who had been in Iraq since August and had last visited his parents in February - was scheduled to return home in July, his mother said.

The Seidels said when they saw their son a few months ago, he seemed distracted. He explained that he was happy to see them, but also ready to rejoin the platoon of about 30 soldiers under his command, they recalled.

"His mind was over there," Mrs. Seidel said from their Gettysburg home. "He felt great responsibility for them. He said he couldn't feel at home until they all came home."

The Seidels said their son decided in the fifth grade that he wanted to attend West Point and make a career of the military. Lately he had talked about joining the Army Special Forces, his father said.

"He was in it for the long haul," Mr. Seidel said.

Mrs. Seidel said that as a young boy, her son had seen the Civil War miniseries, North and South, and was drawn to the famous generals who were depicted.

He attended Civil War re-enactments in Gettysburg and toyed with the idea of becoming a re-enactor one day, his mother said.

Lieutenant Seidel grew up in Emmitsburg in Frederick County and graduated in 2000 from Catoctin High School, where he earned mostly A's, his mother said. While there, he played football and baseball. At West Point, he joined the intramural wrestling team and won a medal in his weight class, she said.

He loved country music and ratty jeans, his mother said, chuckling, as she pictured her son in the beat-up John Deere hat that he was fond of wearing.

More recently he had developed an interest in NASCAR and ventured to Daytona, Fla., one year with friends to watch the races.

"He was a great kid," Mrs. Seidel said. "He loved the Lord. He loved his family. He loved his friends. And he loved his platoon. That was the most important thing for him."

His father added: "He believed in the mission in Iraq."

Stephen Seidel, 20, said he had braced himself for the possibility that his brother could die while serving in the war, but he hadn't imagined how he would feel if that day ever came.

"You work yourself up for this, but you don't expect it to happen," he said. "It rips your heart right out of your chest. I'm never going to see him again, and that's the hardest part of this."

He said his brother was a true-blue friend with an unfailing sense of humor and a knack for lightening serious moments.

"The first minute you met him, he'd have you laughing," the younger brother said. "Way back when we were really young, we'd go up to our grandma's attic and get into my uncle's old military uniforms. We'd go out into the woods and play Army. He loved that."


I've written previously about the Patriot Guard Riders; unfortunately, due to a skiing incident and subsequent knee surgery, I've been unable to ride my motorcycle in order to attend any of the funerals for the fallen that the Patriot Guard Riders have ridden escort for...until now.

On Memorial Day, it will be this old veteran's honor and privilege to be present for Lt. Seidel's funeral.

There is a possibility that the lowlifes (who think it is acceptable to protest the war by making grieving families feel even worse than they already do) might show up, especially because it's Memorial Day, to try to make a point.

We will be there to interpose ourselves between any such miscreants and Lt. Seidel's family and friends, should the need arise. Otherwise, we shall be present to honor his service to his country, in any case.

No matter what a person may think about this current war, increasing people's sorrow is sick and wrong.

UPDATE! (<-- Click link for full story)

EMMITSBURG: With a 21-gun salute and the reading of a poem about war that Army 1st Lt. Robert A. Seidel III had written in the fifth grade, this small town and hundreds of flag-bearing veterans laid to rest a native son yesterday in a funeral service that many said was all the more poignant on Memorial Day.

The Memorial Day funeral was attended by more than 200 military veterans and others, many of whom traveled by motorcycle from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Most of the men and women on motorcycles were members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group that was organized last fall in response to protests staged by Westboro Baptist Church.

Members of the Kansas congregation picket military funerals...protesters from the church arrived yesterday in Emmitsburg, but police kept them down the road and across the street from the driveway to the shrine.

Richard E. "Ripley" Marcks II, 58, of Allentown, Pa., has attended about 15 military funerals with the Patriot Guard Riders and served as ride captain and organizer for the gathering at the service for Lieutenant Seidel.

"We want to show honor for our fallen American heroes. Those are not just words for us. That's true," he said.



It was a moving experience; I was proud to be a part of it...

18 Comments:

Blogger UpNorthLurkin said...

I wish you could come up here. We also have a funeral on Friday. (See my double Scrapple post)The freaks from Kansas have already said they were coming. Maybe some of the veterans groups won't let it happen.

May 28, 2006 7:05 PM  
Blogger onlineanalyst said...

What a remarkable young man, Lt. Seidel was! His honorable leadership and service deserve a dignified burial and the respect due to an American hero. Memorial Weekend will no doubt have poignant memories for this family. Let us pray that his family, his friends, and his community have a aervice unmarred by the insensitive.

May 28, 2006 7:25 PM  
Blogger JR said...

Hope it is a smooth ride...

May 28, 2006 7:32 PM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

We'll be with you there is spirit sir. Wishing you a quiet and dignified ceremony.

Regards...

May 28, 2006 8:37 PM  
Blogger darth_meister said...

God bless all the brave Americans who have stood in harm's way for our freedoms and Godspeed to all those who are presently serving and fighting on the frontiers of freedom.

All gave some and some gave all, let not their sacrifices ever be forgotten while men walk this earth.

May 28, 2006 11:04 PM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Thank you for this post camojack. And for doing your part past and present. May you and your co-rider's presence protect this family from additional pain. Ride with pride, my friend!

May 29, 2006 5:53 AM  
Blogger 'da Bunny said...

The greatest tragedy of this war, and of all wars, is the fact that wonderful young people like Lt. Seidel are lost. Oh, the terrible injustice of seeing such a fine young man lose his purposeful life before he even had a chance to really live it. God rest his soul, and God Bless his family. My heart breaks for them.

As far as your "ride,"...be safe and THANKS for being one of the "good guys," Jack!

May 29, 2006 8:34 AM  
Blogger mig said...

God Bless you for providing a protective circle around these families.

And God Bless those that are still willing to fight for this country and sacrifice everything so that we may live in freedom.

My prayers go to the Lt.s family and friends and to all our soldiers; all those that have served, are serving or are serving in heaven. We are truly a blessed people, it is apparent by our military.

May 29, 2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger Red said...

My thoughts will be with you. I didn't sleep well the entire 10 months that my daughter Shannon was in Iraq - and the day she made it back safe and sound, I felt like I could breathe again. I cannot imagine the horror of losing a child, and my heart goes out to all of those parents who have. It doesn't lessen the pain, I am sure, but they deserve much respect for raising a child who believed in duty, honor and freedom.

I am glad you will be there, Camo - not only to pay your respects, but to help if any idiots show up.

Red

May 29, 2006 11:40 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Camo,
Stay safe and please wear your helmet.

My baby brother served in Viet Nam as a proud US Marine at the age of 18.
Although he came back alive,the family suffered untold hardship while waiting.Mom would spend her time collecting specific items he had requested and sending them to him. Dad would proudly tell anyone who would listen that His boy was in the Marines in Viet Nam.
It would be weeks between letters and we would have to be content ourselves that on that date,he was alive and safe.We never had to hear the words"I am sorry to have to inform you,but ......." God bless and comfort Lt.Seidel's precious family.

May 30, 2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Please forgive me for not proof reading my previous comment.

May 30, 2006 11:48 AM  
Blogger boberin said...

Very good work sir!
Time for an update, how did it go?
Here's hoping that it was just a peaceful day at the very least!

May 31, 2006 2:01 PM  
Blogger Beerme said...

camo,

You made us proud! (though I know that wasn't the reason)
Good work!

May 31, 2006 6:11 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

Thank you and all your cycle riding warrier friends for giving this Hero and his family the privacy and respect they deserve.

I think someone needs to investigate this "religious " group from Kansas . Is that Kansas ,Iran?Their tactics seem to be a lot more in tune with the enemy and the Devil ,than with any decent cause.It wouldn't surprise me if Bin Laden, or someone of his ilk is financing these freaks.Their so-called reason for the protests do not hold water.

May 31, 2006 9:09 PM  
Blogger UpNorthLurkin said...

They're on their way up here to North Dakota for our friend's funeral Friday. The Chief of Police just announced extra cops will be working to assure a peaceful service and burial. The Patriot Riders are also on their way. When I heard that I knew everything would be alright! It's hard enough for the family without having to think about that BS!!
Thanks for your service Monday, Camo!
Didn't the President sign some kind of a bill on Memorial Day outlawing this kind of disruptive behavior?

May 31, 2006 9:55 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Camo,
You did a wonderful thing and you are loved.

May 31, 2006 10:02 PM  
Blogger rusty said...

Thanks, Jack, for this post. The loss of a deployed loved one is tough on his unit and family at home. It very hard on the Casualty Assistance Officer and those that accompany him/her with the sad news. It's a loss of a good mind and soul for our country. I'm glad you were there to show your respect. God bless.

Rev. Martin R. Fors
Chaplain, COL, VSG
aka rusty

June 01, 2006 7:07 AM  
Blogger Cassandra said...

Camo:

I know what you all are doing is a tremendous comfort to the families who have lost someone they love. And it's not easy (or at least it isn't for me) to go to those types of events. It means a lot that you are supporting the military and their families at the most difficult time any of us can ever face.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

June 01, 2006 4:21 PM  

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