Saturday, May 23, 2009

I am thankful that Beth has come up with another way for me to honor our fallen heroes. I know Steps To Honor is for more than just our Fallen Heroes but they hold a very special place in my heart that my miles will be devoted to show the thanks that I have for them. I've never been a runner and haven't even been exercising lately, I just put exercise on the back burner. Now will not only be able to start getting in shape but I will be honoring the Marines that served with the 1/6 Marines, the same that my nephew has served on 2 deployments with. There are Fallen Heroes that I will be "stepping" for also and as I go along I'll fill you in on each one of them.
Since I am not in great shape I had to start of slow and only able to do a couple miles today before having some pretty bad shortness of breath, that is only temporary and before you know it my stamina and my lungs will be able to go much further. Even though I was only able to do 2 miles today, my heart and my thanks were in both of them. When my nephew joined the 1/6 I joined a group of friends and families of the 1/6 Marines. The deployment to Iraq was really bad and they (we) lost 12 of our own, 11 Marines, 1 "Doc". They will be the first 12 that I will honor, though in my heart I honor every fallen hero this country has lost. It was during that deployment that my eyes were opened, I saw and felt wat a military family goes through. That is when I began making condolence books that Beth has mentioned, I felt I had to do something to honor the heroes that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The first 2 Marines that I am honoring, are 2 of the first 3 that the 1/6 lost.
My first mile is dedicated to Sgt. Julian Arechaga, 1/6 Marines KIA 10/9/06

Sgt. Arechaga was on his third tour in battle and his second mission in Iraq when his Humvee came in contact with an improvised explosive device.

Arechaga wanted to enlist a fter 9/11. He made his way up through the ranks to infantry sergeant in the 1st Battalion Sixth Marine Charlie Company, and was in charge of a platoon.

Acting as a parent as much as a sister, Sheyla had intervened in her brother's life early on. Their father, Julian Arechaga Sr., had been separated for many years from their mother, Mirna Martinez, who died the previous June of cancer.Sheyla took her brother out of Baldwin Senior High School before his junior year, hoping he would fare better at a different school, and made sure that he graduated from Oceanside High School in the summer 2002. Andy Randazzo said that Sheyla and Russ's interventions like these turned Julian's life around.Arechaga, always athletic and thus a good fit for the Marines, according to Sheyla, made a tremendous improvement at Oceanside, where he joined the wrestling team and won medals. Mike Janosko, head football coach at the high school, was Arechaga¹s varsity wrestling coach. Janosko described him as a model student. "He was one of those good, hard-working kids," Janosko said. "He came to school every day. He really cared a lot about wrestling and always went to practice. And he held a job and helped out his family. He was a kid with high character. It's really devastating what happened to him."Arechaga also began to do well academically in school, and Sheyla smiled with pride as she recalled his making the honor roll at Oceanside.
Arechaga married 19-year-old Felicia on June 17. The two Marines had met while both were stationed in North Carolina. "He just fell in love with her," Sheyla said, adding that the two had known each other for a few months when Arechaga told his sister he was going to propose. The newlyweds bought a home in North Carolina in July, but planned to move in with the Randazzos and their daughters when Arechaga's tour was finished in March.Randazzo said that both of her children, Alexandra, 5, and Ava, 17 months, were close to their uncle. Alexandra would say Arechaga was in "kayak" when asked about his location, because "Iraq" was not yet in her vocabulary.
Sgt. Julian Arechaga will be missed, is sacrifice has not gone unnoticed, I honor his memory.

The Second Marine I honor is LCpl Jon Eric Bowman, 1/6 Marines KIA 10/9/06

First of all I have to say that I met Jon Eric's mother Jill at the last homecoming for the 1/6. She was there to welcome home the Marines that served with her son on their previous deployment when Jon Eric was killed. She is such a strong woman and does everything she can to honor her son. I am proud to be able to call Jill a friend of mine. We spent quite a bit of time together at Camp LeJeune. She reached out to the other Gold Star families that lost their son during this deployment. I had made the condolence books for those families also and found out Jill had never received one, so I made her one when I got back, then my brother and his wife delivered the book to her. She has shared many stories with me about her son and so it is like I know him more than a lot of the others, this is one of the ones that has become very personal to me.
Lance Corporal Jon Eric was about one month into his second deployment to Iraq and was conducting combat operations against enemy forces in the Anbar Province in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.
Two fellow Marines from the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina were with him. Pfc. Shelby J. Feniello, 25, of Pennsylvania and Sgt. Julian M. Arechaga, 23, of New York were with Jon Eric, who was on top, manning a .50 caliber machine gun, when their Humvee was hit by two IED’s (improvised explosive devices), killing all three.
I know Jon Eric is looking down on his mom and grinning ear to ear with the pride he has for her, and Jill is looking up to the gates of Heaven so proud of her son.
There is so much behind every one of our fallen heroes, I just hope to share a little about these heroes. I will never forget! They will always have a place in my heart.

1 comment:

  1. Terri, I was honoring a 1/6 Marine today's amazing how much we "get to know" these heroes when we make a condolence book isn't it? Thanks for honoring our heroes!


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