It started out as one of those chase-your-tail crazy days trying to get a thousand things done at once… and then all of a sudden nothing else mattered but the person on the other end of the line with me.
As I have written before, two tough Marines of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion 24th Marines – Sergeant Thomas Gilbert and Lance Corporal Jonathan Thornsberry – made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation on October 25th when they were killed by an IED.
Today, I picked up the phone and called Jonathan’s mom.
Judy Thornsberry is a proud mother and a grieving mother as I am sure is Mrs. Gilbert as well. I found in Judy’s willingness to talk with me and gentle bravery to face what must be an unimaginable horror, there can be little doubt about the tremendous character of her son.
I was reminded of a moment on the battlefield with Oliver North when another Marine was lost. He was a captain and his driver, a lance corporal, was devastated. The part I’ll never forget were the words of the lance corporal to Ollie: “You tell ‘em, Colonel. Tell ‘em who my captain was and you tell ‘em how he lived his life.”
Well I’ll tell you how Jonathan lived his life. He had a servant’s heart of Gold. “He truly cared for other people. He wanted to give and he’d give you the shirt off his back even when he didn’t have it to give,” Judy told me. She also told me that he deeply wanted to become a Marine.
And alongside his friend Sgt. Gilbert, that is exactly what they were – honorable and proud Marines. The men of Alpha Company told me of their comrades’ raw courage, selfless service and upbeat humor. And they continue the mission today in honor of them.
Nothing is more sacred than life itself. And these two amazing Marines gave theirs for the freedom of other people. Keep them in your prayers.
Here’s how the Commanding Officer views every Marine in Alpha Company:
"The man who will go where his colors go, without asking, who will fight
a phantom foe in the jungle and mountain range, without counting, and
who will suffer and die in the midst of incredible hardship, without
complaint, is still what he has always been, from Imperial Rome to
sceptered Britian to democratic America. He is the stuff of which
legions are made....His pride is in his colors and his regiment, his
training hard and thorough and coldly realistic, to fit him for what he
must face...and his obedience is to his orders. He has been called
United States Marine." - T.R. Fehrenbach "This Kind of War".
I can be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.