Memorial Day is always a somber one for me. It’s the day where we honor not necessarily all who served – we honor those who died in service to this great nation and all of its citizens. We remember and are grateful for all who gave the ultimate sacrifice – be it in the Revolutionary War, the World Wars or the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars of our modern times.
Special Forces SFC Aaron Henderson is my friend. On October 2, 2012 he was killed in action in Afghanistan. The actual injury occurred on September 30th when an IED went off during a mission. He was rushed to Bagram – where despite all attempts by our excellent military medical personnel, he died from his wounds on the 2nd. He was a member of 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group – Airborne.
In addition to being a decorated Soldier, Aaron was a good man.
Aaron was about as country as they come. I would have never guessed he was born in Maine. He seemed more at home while based in the South, living on the Kentucky/Tennessee border. I rarely saw him without his old Ford hat…
The website www.togetherweserved.com does an excellent job of summing up our fallen forces’ military history, and you can find SFC Henderson’s record and awards there. I am so grateful that some Americans remember that we are still at war. Sometimes, it seems that all is well and things have calmed down, but our brothers and sisters are still deployed in deadly combat. Aaron was one of those brothers. He, like 6,648 other loyal members of our United States Armed Forces, gave the ultimate sacrifice in OIF and OEF. The latest data shows that over 6,900 have died in battles in Iraq and Afghanistan as we still have conflict despite the announcement that the wars are over. Aaron gave his life so you and I may enjoy the freedoms we have. A short 60-second tribute to Aaron and two other fallen heroes can be viewed at: The Ultimate Sacrifice.
I didn’t grow up with Aaron, and I certainly don’t know even a quarter of all the things he’s done for this country. We did, however, spend many months together in a very intense situation, and we became close friends. I am grateful to have known him. Aaron had a subtle sense of humor and was always smiling. He helped out whenever and however he could – no matter what. Don’t get me wrong, like all of our Special Forces, he was a badass. He was also a gentleman. Aaron was respectful and kind, and he knew how to have a laugh every now and then.
This short post is intended to remind folks that we should never forget our heroes – from the American Revolution and World War I to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars – who gave the ultimate sacrifice. I am grateful for them all. I do not take my freedom for granted.
Aaron – thank you; I love and miss you; and one day we’ll battle it out over a cornhole game once again.