I never met Mark Forester, but his story affected me.
It was a year ago today that the 29-year-old was killed while trying to rescue one of his comrades who had been shot by a sniper. He didn’t make it.
I remember crying last year as I made call after call to his friends and family shortly after news of his death had come out. I had to leave the office and sit in my car while I cried for him, for his family, for the realization that a war is being fought.
Today, however, was not meant to be sad. It was meant to pay tribute to this man who gave his all, his life, to protect what he believed in.
As the balloon slipped out of my hand a tear slid down my cheek. Mark’s death was still getting to me.
He had brown hair, brown eyes. He was loved by his family. He was loved by his friends. He set an example for his comrades to follow.
He was a true patriot and he died with honor.
But as I walked away from the balloon release, from his oldest brother who stifled back tears of his own as he talked about Mark, the tears began falling down with more fervor.
Once I reached my car, my mascara was running down my cheeks. I clutched the bookmarks in my hand that had Mark’s portrait.
It seems unfair. Too sad to be real. But it is real. It’s real for his family everyday and he is just one of the many who are killed on the battlefield.
It’s been a year, but its fresh everyday that a new name comes across my desk.