Some concepts should not become obsolete | Notice


“I hope that if I go, I went with honor and courage. Hope I died leading the Marines, and not from some random bomb or sniper … I will wish I could hold you back again, but there are some good ones Marines under my responsibility, and I want to lead them with honor and courage. “

These words did not come from a missive long ago in a distant time of chivalry and duty. They came from a letter written in the early 2000s.

Carly Kirk read this excerpt from a letter her husband Jeff sent her from overseas. It seems to come from an account where she accepted an award (likely a Silver Star) on Jeff’s behalf.

I served with Jeff Kirk in the 1st Platoon of the 2nd Fleet Counter Terrorism Team. We were in our late teens or early twenties at the time. He was an intense young man; passionate and loyal.

The words he wrote to his wife surprise me, but not because of the sentiment expressed. I had just never seen him say the same. Jeff was a man of a lot of action and of few words.

The reason he could not be there to accept this award himself is that he made the ultimate sacrifice on December 12, 2004. He had been shot in the thigh a few months earlier, but insisted on returning. fight.

I understand he died rescuing fellow Marines who had been injured. He was 24 years old.

Jeff’s life came to an end barely two years after my enlistment in the Marine Corps ended. Like Jeff, I was just a young man at the time. Like him, I also had my whole life ahead of me.

Since leaving the Marine Corps in 2002, I have continued to build a family, pursue my dreams and live 20 years of life. Jeff did not have this opportunity. He gave up all of these things so that people like me could have them.

He sacrificed all of the years from 2004 to today so that others could enjoy building their dreams in the relative safety of the world’s greatest country. Every age associated with pain, every animal I’ve owned, every friend I’ve made, and every memory with my family is possible because he was willing to give up his chance to experience these things on his own.

First home purchases, college degrees, countless birthdays, and countless “firsts” have been given up in exchange for the luck for others to have them.

The things Jeff talks about in this letter to his wife don’t seem modern. The first time I read it I thought it must have been written by one of Washington’s men from the battlefield as he faced off against the redcoats. Maybe it was written on a muddy notepad in a European field while pushing back the Nazis?

It took me by surprise as I read further in the article and realized that the words were written by a man in relatively modern times. It doesn’t feel like someone would write these days. Our cynical society seems to poke fun at basic concepts like the ones Jeff clung to.

Things like “honor and courage” seem archaic in an age marked by pervasive negativity. Of course, they could be launched as a slogan. Some businesses and government organizations hang them on the wall, but that’s normally where they stay. Few of them seem to apply them.

Our society certainly does not seem to be motivated by them. Turning on your computer is finding a social media thread with the latest war of words on Twitter or an endorsement of the mundane opulence of an Instagram influencer last vacation. Watching the evening news is to witness tales of government corruption or countless other tragedies.

We live in trying times when riots, lies, corruption and selfishness seem to be the norm. It’s easy to feel hopeless. Yet here, in the midst of these times, is Jeff Kirk; sitting somewhere abroad and writing to his wife about honor and courage.

He writes it knowing full well that he might not go home. There is something so pure and encouraging about the picture. Concepts seem outdated in our world; these are things that might make a guy laugh for raising them.

But honor and courage, sacrifice and loyalty, whatever Jeff stood for is what we need most now. These are the things that still stir the souls of men. People like me need to know that these concepts are still alive and well.

I have so many memories of Jeff and the other men I served with during those formative years of my life. I remember training, hanging out in the barracks and seeing the world. If I could go back just a moment, I would say several things to Jeff.

I would like him to know that I appreciate his heart of a warrior so full of courage. I would make sure he knew I admired his “old-fashioned” commitment to honor. But most of all, I would tell him that he would still make a difference 20 years later, when he gave hope to a middle-aged me.

Cliff Couch is a father, husband, Marine Corps veteran and proud Athenian. The opinions here are his. You can follow him on his blog at

Cliff Couch is a father, husband, Marine Corps veteran and proud Athenian. The opinions here are his. You can follow him on his blog at

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