June 20, 2012

A Tribute to Our Troops (In Memory of CPT. Scottie Pace)

About a week and a half ago, I found out that the brother of a friend here in DC had died in the line of duty in Afghanistan. I remember meeting Scottie about a year and a half ago and seeing him a handful of times after that at various social gatherings. I barely knew him, and I don't think he would have remembered meeting me... So I don't quite understand why I feel so shaken by his passing. 


Memorial for U.S. Army CPT. Scott Patrick Pace (left) and 1L Matthew Fazzari (right), who were killed in Afghanistan
on June 6th. See this online Facebook memorial for the rest of the photos. (Kleenex advised.)

Before coming to DC, the military perplexed me. I didn't understand why people said the troops were fighting for us or defending our freedoms. To me, it just seemed that they were out fighting foreign wars that perhaps we shouldn't have even gotten involved with. My freedom seemed to be just fine, and certainly outside the sphere of influence of soldiers fighting half a world away.


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; Arlington, VA; January 2010

U.S. Air Force Memorial; Arlington, VA; June 10, 2012


Living in DC has helped me gain a new perspective on the military. I grew up next to an Air Force base, but even in all my years in Riverdale, I hadn't met as many members of the military as I've met in the two years I've spent in DC.

U.S. Air Force Memorial; Arlington, VA; June 10, 2012

The two men I've dated seriously while in DC have been military men. Both USUHS students, actually. The first one was a(n extremely proud) West Point grad (In fact, he overlapped with both Pace brothers during his time at the Academy.), and the second one is an Air Force man. I learned more than I ever thought I would need to know about the military, about life at the U.S. military academy, about the strict honor code and high standards to which cadets and officers are held, about the importance and significance of symbols and insignia on military uniforms (and what a few of them mean!), and even about things like what a plebe/yuk/cow/firstie is. My respect for our military men and women grew, and they were humanized to me.

Korean War Memorial to the Universal Soldier; Battery Park, NYC; March 2010

U.S. Marine Corps Memorial; Arlington, VA; January 2010

Being in DC has taught me that politics touches everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) in our lives. The Department of Defense, defense spending, military base closures, troop withdrawals... These are some of the terms that politicians throw around. To some, these words are just political rhetoric. To others, they make a tangible difference. When then-Senator Obama was running for his current office, he promised to bring the troops home from Iraq. Last year, he fulfilled his promise. Some say the timing was politically-motivated. I think the families of those soldiers were just grateful to have them home.

The Pentagon, seen from Arlington National Cemetery; Arlington, VA; January 2010

U.S. Air Force Memorial; Arlington, VA; June 10, 2012


What I've learned in my time in DC, though, is that the men and women who wear the uniforms of the United States military (of any branch) are ambassadors to the world of American ideals, American values, and American goodness. They are sent overseas to fight the fights of others. The conflicts in which they are involved are controlled by men and women who may never see a battlefield. But each soldier is a light to the world of what FREEDOM means.

U.S. Air Force Memorial; Arlington, VA; June 10, 2012

U.S. Air Force Memorial; Arlington, VA; June 10, 2012

U.S. Air Force Memorial; Arlington, VA; June 10, 2012

U.S. Air Force Memorial; Arlington, VA; June 10, 2012

Our troops don't fight to preserve OUR freedoms (that's what each of us does at the ballot box on Election Day), but the freedom of others, or often, the chance for others to even have the possibility to enjoy the freedoms we take for granted.





For this, and for all of the sacrifices they (and their families) make, including giving their lives when necessary, they are heroes in every sense of the word.


Arlington National Cemetery; Arlington, VA; January 2010

Vietnam Memorial; Washington, DC; January 2010

U.S. Air Force Memorial; Arlington, VA; June 10, 2012
My heart hurts for the Pace family at this time, and my prayers remain with them. Thank you, Captain Pace, for your service to your country and to the ideals for which we stand. Thank you for giving your life to advance the cause of freedom throughout the world. Please know that you have made a difference.

U.S. Marine Corps Memorial; Arlington, VA; January 2010

WWII Memorial; Washington, DC; July 2011

May your sacrifice, and the sacrifices of so many others like you, never be forgotten. 



RELATED LINKS:

Video tribute to CPT. Scott Pace
Obituary for CPT. Scott Pace
Online Guestbook for the Family of CPT. Scott Pace
KSWT News report on the funeral (includes video)
Photo of CPT. Pace's family when his body arrived
Imperial Valley Press article
California Governor and First Lady Honor CPT. Scott Pace

3 comments:

  1. You write so passionately and compassionately. Well said and heartfelt, little one. I am proud of you and your endeavors. I read several others of your entries too. Long time no read on my part. I love still seeing into your life and where you are in it. Stay in touch!
    Wayne Cowley

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Elder Cowley. :) I'm glad y'all keep a blog, too! It's a fun way to stay in touch. Safe travels!

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  2. Ur thoughts on the military were so touching and so true! I'm sorry bout the friend of your brother. I think it makes it real when you know someone who died as opposed to just hearing about the lost, you know?

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