These were all volunteers who served their country unto the death.
Did they all join the military with the purpose of fighting a war? Likely not. But having committed themselves to the armed forces, they did not turn back when their assignments changed. In essence, they gave their country a blank check to use as it wished.
One was newly married. One had a young son; another, a young daughter. Some were barely out of high school. One was finishing his second tour of duty in Iraq. One was a surgeon; another, a mechanic (and another gave up the goal of being a mechanic in order to be a soldier).
They left behind family and friends, comfort and safety, possessions and pleasures, treasures and trinkets. They left behind the option to own their house, to buy that special vehicle, to have a spouse, to have children, to grow old with their spouse and children, to fatten their bank account, to travel for pleasure, to enjoy life far from war.
They put aside some of life's other affairs to pursue this noble calling: service. They denied themselves so that they might serve their country and their fellowman. They accepted discomforts and dangers in order to offer freedom and life to others. They set forth on their mission, aware of but not deterred by the personal costs.
Their country called, they answered. Their leader committed them to combat, they went. Duty beckoned, they responded. Death came for them. . .and they departed this life, faithful to the end to country, President, and duty.
How shall the Almighty judge them? Their cases, their souls, their destinies are in His hands alone. Only He can and shall determine their eternal fate.
But this we do know: no man, no woman, can give greater than these gave. Many have already given as much as they. Many more shall do so as well.
No, this is not a call to service in the armed forces of any earthly nation. While that can be a high calling, those who follow Jesus have a far higher calling and purpose. This is a call to unconditional, unrestricted service and sacrifice for the King of Kings.
He needs soldiers. He needs workers. He needs servants. He needs you. So volunteer!
Make sure He has your life as a blank check to use as He wishes. Don't insist on knowing ahead of time what He will require of you. Just purpose to follow Him no matter where He leads.
"Must I be carried to skies on flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?"
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (2 Timothy 2:3,4).
"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26,27,33).
Serving as a soldier, sailor, Marine, or airman is not an option for me; however, if I were not a follower of the Lamb, such a calling would be an honor indeed. Neither can I offer up my children in service to any earthly kingdom. But I would like to see me and my house heed the call of the heavenly kingdom with no less commitment and no less service than these six who, despite being dead, yet speak.
William Wiscowiche, only 20 years old, was newly married. He died on March 30, 2004, leaving behind his wife Veronica and daughter Arrianna. He joined the Marines before he turned 18. His parents had to go with him to the recruiter's office to sign the papers. He reported for duty just months after he earned his high school diploma in Victorville in 2001. As a child, he loved to build with Legos and play video games.
During his two deployments, Army surgeon Mark Taylor (41) operated on hundreds of American soldiers as well as Iraqi soldiers and civilians. One patient wrote, "He lives with me everyday in the new life that with his help I have received." On March 20, 2004, just days before he was scheduled to return home, he began placing a call to his parents in Stockton. He never completed the connection. His post came under rocket attack so he took cover inside the thick-walled quarters. Hearing others still outside, he went back out to implore them to come in. Then he got hit. He is survived by his ex-wife and their six-year-old son, with whom he loved to build model ships and trains.
Kimberly Voelz (27) died on December 14, 2003 -- in her husband's arms -- after an explosive device she was trying to defuse went off. They served on separate bomb disposal teams. As she was being taken to the military hospital at the Baghdad airport, her husband Max, who was stationed nearby, received word of her injury and rushed to her side. She died a few hours later. "She believed in what she was doing over there to help the Iraqi people," said her mother. "She died for America."
Keicia Hines, also 27 years old, was killed on January 14, 2004. She and Sean Hines were wed on Christmas Eve 2001. They had no children; they had planned on starting a family when she returned from Iraq. The last time Sean heard from his wife, she asked him to order some clothes and shoes from a trendy store. The email, which came January 13, also said she was "exhausted and couldn't wait to get home and that she loved me," Sean Hines said.
John Amos II had a reputation as "one of those people who won't let you be sad." He was 20 years old when he was killed on April 4, 2004. When the terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, Amos, who had talked before about becoming an auto mechanic, changed his plans, his mother recalled. He determined to join the Army, and right after he turned 18 on March 18, 2002, he enlisted, she said. "He wanted to get whoever had done this tragedy."
Holly McGeogh (19) graduated from high school in 2002 and was killed in Iraq on January 31, 2004, about a month before the end of her deployment. She was a person with a great sense of humor who enjoyed hunting with her father and, "like all teens, she loved shopping." An aunt reports, "She said when she got home she was going to lick the first tree she saw and roll in the first patch of grass she could find." Holly said if she were to die, her family and friends should remember that she died for a reason.