Friday, July 4, 2008

Final Salute and the 4th of July

I will be completing the final chapters of "Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives" today. I received this book from Trish Forant, founder of (a website resource that makes it easy to e-mail and serve those on the front lines of battle). She was assisting Freelance Journalist Becky of "Deep Muck Big Rake", via blog promotion raising awareness for the stories written by Pulitzer Prize winner journalist Jim Sheeler of the Rocky Mountain News.

This book serves as a reminder of our American journey. It provides a snapshot of war and freedom's cost, more recently the Iraq and Global War on Terror. The reader goes on a somber mission with those responsible for notifiying next of kin and the families who have lost loved ones in battle, in war. We meet each family, get to know them, and the son, husband, and father who chose to serve our country and died carrying out that duty.

We follow Major Beck of the U.S. Marines from the dreaded knock on the door in the late night, to the final resting place, and the hurt that families endure afterwards. Major Beck has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that each of his families and other's receive the "Final Salute" and ongoing support these families need and deserve. His attention to detail in every family request knows no bounds.

Few in America are close to war and for over 200 years, America continues to sacrifice for the sake our own nation and other's around the world (history proves that other countries and governments benefit from our success). Over 1.5 million service women and men have given their lives for the sake of independence.

For me, this book brought back the honor, respect, and solemnity that we should come to celebrate in appreciation of our hard won freedom. These chapters, these lives will make you cry. In fact, it made me remember Lance Corporal Timothy McMahaon, USMC and the 241 other servicemen who were killed in the Beirut, Lebanon barracks bombing of 1983. Tim was a friend of mine and inspired my life's focus. This book made me remember him and his family and identify with the families I read about.

The 4th of July is a celebration of freedom (it is not a time of sadness), a celebration of the modern day miracle that we call America. Freedom is not guaranteed, we have a chance to renew each day, each year, each decade, and hopefully another 100 years. To all our military serving in harms way, we salute you on 4th of July and rejoice in the American military and the American story. Take time today to look at an American flag blowing in the wind and render a salute and hopefully it will never be final. Get caught up in THE VORTEX!

Semper Fi!

Andy Valadez
USMC 88 to 92

p.s. My family and I are heading to the world's largest land-based fireworks display in Houston, Texas this evening to celebrate the 4th of July - Independence Day.

Final Salute: Soldiers and Marines in Iraq

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1 comment:

eMOM said...


Great write up and review! We'd love for you to guest post this over at the eMail Our Military blog as well. What do you think?