Monday, April 5, 2010

A Father's Promise

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Robert Gilbert in Afghanistan
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Robert Gilbert, Jr. with his dad, Robert Gilbert, Sr., who is a police officer in the Village of Richfield.

Just when I thought I could clear my head of questions of why we continue to spend lives in Afghanistan in the face of statements like this and man up to trusting General David Petraeus at his word that it is a worthy investment of lives and the pain those losses inflict on those left behind, I read something like this.

The letter sat on the dresser for four years.
Robert Gilbert never opened it. He only touched the envelope when he needed to dust around it. He wanted to give it back to his son unopened.
Every time his Marine son was deployed, his son would ask, "You still got my letter?"
His dad never wanted to read what was inside an envelope marked: "Dad, open this if I am wounded. Love, Robert."
The call to open it came March 8.
"Is Robert Gilbert there?" a voice from Marine headquarters in Quantico, Va., said.
"Junior or Senior?" Robert said.
The father felt his stomach drop even before he heard the words: "Your son has been injured in Afghanistan."

Now folks, steel yourself with whatever inner fortitude you have before you read on. Then pause and reflect on the the love this man had for his son.

A Father's promise, a son's sacrifice for his country

Columnist for The Plain Dealer

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