Our son Lucas ("Luke"
or "Star") died April 16, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq, of
sustained when the vehicle he was in struck an
improvised explosive device.
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division,
Luke was my son. I loved him. I was there when he was
born. Once, he was a little boy who loved
ice cream and cake. At one time he believed in the
Easter bunny and Santa Claus, and
loved to visit the pumpkin farm in the autumn. As a
little tyke, he sat on my lap whenever
he thought the movie was scary, or crawled into bed with
his mother and I whenever he
was frightened at night. He loved his brother and
sister, and defended them accordingly.
Lucas always wanted to be "an Army guy". He played with
his "G.I. Joe" action
figures when he was a child, and loved to dress in camo.
He loved his parents, both sets.
He loved his grandparents. He was especially fond of
this grandfather, Frank Starcevich.
Luke loved his country, friends, and the love of his
Now her universe has crumbled, just like ours.
What kind of man was
Luke? He was my definition of a real man. He cared about
everyone. If he loved you, he would tell you so, without
reservation. He never forgot a birthday.
He called my wife from Iraq early the morning of her
birthday to wish her a happy one,
thus beating me to it. It meant the world to her, but
that's the kind of man Luke was.
No matter what he was up against, he never thought of
just himself. Never.
Luke was courageous. He understood his job and the
dangers involved, and went
about it, but he wasn't without fear. Smart men
understand fear and listen to it.
Luke listened and told me about it. I listened, and
prayed day and night. Our
families prayed day and night.
Now, my world has crumbled, but worse, much worse, Lucas
"It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor
those who died in defense of our
country in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick.
We see those soldiers in our minds as old and wise.
We see them as something like the Founding Fathers,
grave and gray haired. But most of them were boys when
They gave up two lives - the one they were living and the
one they would have lived.
When they died,
they gave up their chance to be husbands and
fathers and grandfathers.
They gave up their chance to be revered old men.
They gave up everything for their country, for us.
All we can do is remember."
Speech of President
Ronald Reagan at Veteran's Day
Ceremony in November 1985 at
Arlington National Cemetery
"The following is
1980's vintage Ronald Reagan. In it, we hear
President Reagan talk to us about core American values
a "lasting peace" through strength. The children we see
in the commercial
belong to Lucas' generation.
While partisan in its day, it now speaks, I think, to
the core of Lucas's
sacrifice in maintaining our country's beacon of
strength. It's a
beautiful minute. . . I find it poignant and touching