Memorial Day, remembering our fallen heroes who have served our great country, is, if properly observed, a somber day. For a few moments this morning, I read a little bit about Memorial Day, found a quote I loved, shared it on Facebook and Twitter and then pinned a beautiful picture of a solidier on Pinterest. Here he is:
And then, I went swimming with my family.
When checking my email later in the day, a woman who knew the warrior, Sergeant David Caruso in my Pinterest picture sent me this note:
Hello Ms. Clouthier,
I’m a follower of yours on Pinterest and I noticed this morning that you had repinned a picture of a Marine in a pocket photo holder with a POW and US flag in honor of Memorial Day. I thought you’d like to know a little about the hero in that picture, as he was an acquaintance of mine and very good friend of my brother’s.
His name is David Caruso. He was born on October 25, 1979 in Winfield, IL, and raised in Naperville, both suburbs of Chicago. He was the youngest of three boys. He attended the same elementary, middle, and high schools as all the kids in our neighborhood, in the same class as my older brother. In high school he was a scholar and athlete, and a member of the football team. He was an Eagle Scout and is responsible for reviving a lovely little park in our childhood neighborhood as his Eagle Scout project. As a senior in high school, he joined the Marines. He graduated from Waubonsie Valley high school in 1998, and went on to graduate from Marine Recon School, Army Ranger School, Army Jump School, and Army Freefall School, attaining the rank of Sergeant. Throughout all of this, he kept in touch with his friends back home, and my brother often relayed his emails and letters to our family. He was able to be home attend my brother’s wedding on November 8, 2003.
Dave was deployed to Iraq in August 2004. He was assigned to the 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Lejune. He died on November 9, 2004 in the assault on Fallujah. When Dave arrived home for burial, the funeral procession took him past his home and grade school in our neighborhood. The local Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops lined the route with American flags and stood at attention for him as he passed. The photo in the Pin you posted is the same picture of Dave that is displayed in the local Catholic church our families attended, where a memorial to fallen members and friends was set up years ago.
I wish I could tell you more about Dave, but as a sister four years younger, I rarely paid much attention to my older brother’s friends beyond the ones who had sisters I admired. I do remember Dave always having a smile for me and being very quiet, but quick to laugh and always had a kind word for everyone. He was a fixture in my brother’s social circle and I have no memory in which my brother’s stories of their outings and adventures didn’t include the phrase “So then Dave says…”.
We are blessed indeed to have men like Dave willing to do what we cannot so we can remain behind to live in the freedom they secured for us at the highest price. Just thought you might want to know a little bit about the random face of a Marine who made you remember the sacrifices of all his brothers.
Best wishes and kindest regards,
By the end, I was crying.
Every death means something broadly for us Americans. Every death is also a personal, grievous loss for the family and friends of the fallen.
So to David Caruso’s family and friends, thank you for your sacrifice. And deepest condolences for your very personal loss. This American and her family is profoundly grateful.