Rick Has Fallen
I wrote earlier in Thanks to Those Who Carry Our Water about my friend Jay, who was deploying with his U.S. Marine unit to Iraq:
Jay is a get-it-done type of guy, which is just what you expect from a U.S. Marine. A man’s man. A man willing to make a personal sacrifice for the values that he holds and to practice his chosen profession. A man willing to leave his friends and family and step out onto the battlefield.Those are the same sorts of words attributed to Rick, Jay’s colleague in Khalidiyah.
He (Rick) was a husband and father who always displayed devotion to duty, and an Army medic who put others first.
Rick’s death hit Jay pretty hard. There is a special bond between people who share dangerous jobs. It has to do, I'm sure, with the emotional acknowledgement of vulnerability. Intellectually, warriors know that their profession puts them at risk, but there is a necessary day to day disconnect which is torn away when a comrade is killed. Rick’s death leaves a permanent wound in all who knew him.
There is small consolation in that Jay feels 99.9% sure that they got Rick’s killer. But even at that, the life of a honorable warrior for that of an insurgent is not a fair trade. Rick paid the ultimate cost for the immediate freedom of strangers in a foreign land. He also made a down-payment on the freedoms that we enjoy in our country. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The tree of life must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
Take a moment and think about Rick’s sacrifice. And tomorrow when it is 11 AM in Indiana, pause and think about his family, who will be burying him. Go here for an itinerary of SSgt. Richard Blakley’s services in Avon, IN.