Thursday, May 10, 2007

Remembering ... Ryen King

Ryen King - the stepson of a childhood friend of mine. 19 Years old. His Dad is the softball coach and a teacher in the high school I graduated from. Joined the army fresh out of high school. Deployed to Iraq. Came home in January and - spent time with family and friends - snow skiied with his girlfriend. Went back and instead of coming home as scheduled, his time there was extended. A suicide bomber drove a truck into the building he was in and on April 21, 2007, Ryen King was killed in combat in Iraq.
I give you no rankings on Ryen - see that doesn't matter. As far as I am concerned, he was Ryen. He was willingly serving this country of mine. He was excited about joining the army and having the structure of the military environment. He was a role model for his siblings and his friends. The Iraqi children loved him. One of those people you enjoyed being around.
While we were readying for the prom on Saturday, Ryen was being laid to rest in a grave adjacent to my Dad's grave. I stopped yesterday and paid my respects. I bumped into his mother and I had no words. What do you say when a mother buries a child? It does not matter whether you agree with this conflict. It does not matter who's war this is. None of the politics matter. A young man, serving his country, has died in that act. I respect him. I respect what he stood for. I honor his memory. I pray for the others. In my thinking - Jerry Ryen King - died a hero. Did I say that to his Mom - no - I cried. I was one mother mourning the loss of another mother's child.
His Mom gave me a website to read about her son. This quote was published in the article. It was written shortly after his visit home in January.
There is a lot of down time at the patrol base and it's impossible not to think of home. Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I had gone straight to college like nearly everyone else. Honestly, I think the Army was the best decision for me, even though it sucks not being home to protect or give advice to my little sisters like an older brother should, or being able to kiss or even tell the girl that has done nothing but support and encourage me to be all that I can be "good night and that I love her". Even missing the small things like breakfast with my grandmother are hard. I can't wait until all that I have to worry about is making a 10:10 class....
There are many more children in our miltary. They are brothers and sisters. They are mothers and fathers. They are friends and lovers. They are the members of our armed forces. If you see them, tell them you support them. If you see their family or friends, tell them how proud you are of them. You do not have to support the politics in order to support the people affected. By all means, if you have a faith base, pray for them, pray regularly, pray diligently, pray.
Ryen recognized that the small details are some of the most important. If you are a regular reader, you know that is my philosophy as well. I challenge you to really focus on what you are doing today. Be fully in the moment. Pay attention to the smallest detail. Celebrate the day. You are not guaranteed tomorrow. Live today with that knowledge. I try to do this everyday. If you do this, you will find that your perspective on irritations will change. Remember - Focus - Celebrate - Forgive.
(the flag in the photo above was painted on recycled tin by a friend of mine, Liz Lampe. It hangs outside the barn that is becoming MaggieGrace Studio. I proudly say I am an American and I also proclaim one nation under God.)
Have a beautiful day. Hug someone you love. Tell someone they are beautiful. Laugh out loud. Celebrate something - no matter how small.


Jill said...

Beautiful. Shivers. Speechless. Thank you.

tongue in cheek said...

I am so sorry.
My prayers will be with his family and those of you who loved him.
Your writing was on fire, deep and moving. A gentle hug to you.

Raesha D said...

My thoughts and prayers are with this beautiful family. I pray each day that my brother comes home safely from Iraq.

KARA said...

He was a brave man, I do feel sorry, but at least he died doing what he felt right for himself his family and his country.
He is a true hero, and that sign is a beautiful tribute, thanks for making us realise how important life is every day.